Stanford Grad Students Get Sweet Maternity Leave Package

January 28, 2006

Stanford has enacted a new policy that allows female graduate students to take 12 weeks of paid maternity. The new moms are also allowed to maintain full-time student status after childbirth, so they needn’t reenroll or re-apply for financial aid.

This is all very cool. I love to see businesses and institutions compete for top minds using progressive benefits. It’s also heartening to see any American institution reform in ways that accommodate family-making, and to see it as worth their while to do so.

However, Stanford’s vice provost and dean of research and graduate policy, Arthur Bienenstock, uttered this quote that left me scratching my head a little bit:

“It is vital to the nation that we retain those women who seek graduate degrees…Otherwise, we will lose our lead in innovation and ultimately our standard of living, as well as national security.”

I’m not sure I follow him. How does losing women engineers to motherhood result in compromised national security and standard of living?