I see what you are saying.
So let's leave out the huffington post articles and the scientific blogs. Let's look at studies like this one:http://gender.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/motherhoodpenalty.pdf
A quote from the HBR link summarizes this nicely: "The subjects received identical résumés, but the candidate who was a mother varied. The researchers found that mothers were 79% less likely to be hired, half as likely to be promoted, offered an average of $11,000 less in salary, and held to higher performance and punctuality standards."
Even barring the maternity leave, why should this have long-lasting ramifications on her career? Is it assumed that the mother will be the one caring for the children? Because that is the definition of sexism, and patently false:http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/06/05/growing-number-of-dads-home-with-the-kids/
While you think about that, I'll analyze this:
As for maternity leave -> I don't see that as sexist but as a realistic cost and benefits analysis of why you'd hire one person and not the other. Females will always be ones who carry the child, thus they'll always be the ones leaving for maternity if it pops up on the job. I've actually discussed this at length with people in my apartment, two of them women. I don't and can't consider it wrong to judge an individual on their biology and how that might effect the bottom line of a company. It's like not hiring people with certain medical histories or such and such in the military or government whether as a whole or for specific positions. It's not an "unjust" prejudice; just an acknowledgment of gender and there differences. As for men vs women for maternity leave and how they're treateddifferently. It's a very large grey area since you can't rightly directly compare the two and most of it lies in morality and individual case by case basis. You can't/should t be able to enforce a company to be nice in a legal sense.
Again with the personal anecdotes, but out of the three mothers I've known who have given birth on the job, only one of them took maternity leave. The fact that men often take paternity leave is demonstrable, too:https://www.dol.gov/asp/policy-development/paternityBrief.pdf
So, this logic is invalid, since paternity leave is equally as likely to be taken as maternity leave.
Also, the personal accounts of the women on these forums have actually refused the premise the the industry they work in, STEM, is sexist.
Please direct me to one of the posts where a woman in STEM has rejected the premise.