Female workers in the UK may be hindered rather than helped if maternity leave were to be extended.
This is according to an expert from the London School of Economics, who said that any such move may lead to a backlash against women in the workplace.
Commenting on the issue in an article for Prospect magazine, Dr Catherine Hakim said employers would be discouraged from hiring and promoting female candidates.
She added: "Several studies by Swedish economists have shown that family-friendly employment policies have been the cause of the glass ceiling for women, not the solution to it."
Dr Hakim added that managers may find it difficult and costly to replace female members of staff in senior and managerial roles if they have extended leave after having children.
Recently, co-founder of Everywoman Maxine Benson suggested that women who feel they have been the victim of unfair pay practices should raise the issue with their bosses.