Studies have shown that overly protectionist schemes, such as provision for longer maternity leaves, tenure security, racial- and gender-based hiring quotas, and other such employer-employee arrangements common to unionized settings, are actually more harmful to the workforce rather than helpful. This is because employers may be hiring individuals not because of their skills and credentials, but to comply with requirements, and also to minimize the possibility of having to maintain an employee who can be considered a liability.
For instance, companies are getting more wary to hire individuals with families—especially women of childbearing age—because these people are more likely to avail family-based paid leaves compared to, say, single males.
Such is the world of long term labour planning. For European countries, more traditional household settings are preferred—such as single incomes earned by the husbands—and the countries’ laws and customs heavily reflect this. While it’s true that Europe has the highest concentration of females in the workforce, the ratio of women in supervisory positions is low, and this is especially because of the prevailing culture of caution among companies.