Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

Kerry Odell

Reader 2

Thierry Boucquey

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2015 Vaishali L. Ravi


Parental leave schemes across the developed world are becoming increasingly more relevant in women’s decision to participate or remain in the labor market. France, Belgium and Luxembourg have very different but relatively effective parental leave schemes. A distinguishing factor in their policies is their emphasis on paternal participation. Through increased paternity leave rights, all three countries have come to better support women in the workplace and in the household. The US is the only country in the OECD that does not offer any form of paid maternity leave, let alone paternity leave. By outlining the historical and cultural context of women in all four nations including work and family habits, I will assess the nature of each policy. I find that culture and tradition play a big role is women’s decision to participate in the labor market. I uncover some of the benefits of the addition of paternity leave is in its respective country based on the female labor force participation rate and the wage gap among other indicators. Using France, Belgium and Luxembourg as case studies, I outline the benefits the US forgoes by excluding paternity leave.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.