Have a kid, lose a job – the sad state of affairs for American moms and famliies

What an amazing organization! At Momsrising.org they are fighting all over the United States for legal rights and fair treatment for mothers of all kinds, single and married, who are discriminated against in the work place. According to their research, single moms make only 60% of what men make, even less than the average woman. Then adding it all up, female college grads forfeit a million dollars over their careers.

In the US, mothers and familiies receive less support than in any other industrialized country.

Parents must have time to bond with newborn or newly adopted. Bonding decreases infant mortality, improves child health, reduces juvenile delinquency. Yet only 1 in 7 US mothers receives paid childbirth leave. We are at the bottom in this area – US is on par with New Guinea and Swaziland.

Calif. is the only state that has mandatory 6 weeks’ paid leave for parents. The American Federation of Labor advocated for it there. It’s financed because Calif. workers agreed to pay through small payroll deductions.

I got this information and a cool DVD–The Motherhood Manifesto–about it from Kiki Peppard, a single mom who’s been fighting for 10 years to end discrimination against mothers in PA. She moved there from New York and no one would hire her when they found out she was a single mom!

Here are a few more points and some organizations worth knowing about:

Center for New American Dream – “More of what matters.” 4 day week, flexible hours. Time off for kid stuff.

Center for Work-Life Law. No benefits for part-timers hurts mainly women. Business in gen. will not address.

Once businessman learned he was unwittingly discriminating against women. His decision to give everyone flexible hours attracted new, stronger talent, turnover slowed dramatically. Business is great, costs are down.

We need legislation like European – equal treatment for part-timers and flexible hours. UK – soft-touch law, through which any employee can ask employer to grant a different schedule- compressed work week, etc. when need to care for child.

If we give workers flexibility, productivity does NOT have to go down.

The Motherhood Project- concerned about the media, US kids spend 8 hours a day connected. 1000 murders, doubled sexual incidents on TV, millions of children
home alone after school. More juvenile crimes up during times kids are unsupervised. Need more after-school programs. Seattle pays for buses to take kids home after scchool.

Health care. Medical bills figure in 50% of all bankruptcies. People without insurance are 2-3 times more likely to die of same disease as those with. 9 million US kids have no insurance. Life expectancy, mother/child mortality we are far below other nations. Should have all kids insured through program like Medicare. this plus paid sick leave would make a huge difference for mothers.

Center for Social Law/Policy. Children get better faster when parents are around. Only US does not require paid sick leave, incl. time to care for kids.

Childcare – quality matters.average cost of childcare is more than cost of university tuition. Average child care worker earns $17000/year. There’s a union for home child care providers in Chicago. The US once passed a universal child care bill–Richard Nixon vetoed it.

Equal Rights Advocates – fights for minimum wage.
Take Back Your Time – fights for well-rounded life rights.

A Better Balance – young lawyers on work/family conflict. More flexiibility, esp. for low-income workers.

The balancing Act – bill for Rep. Woolsey. Women’s #1 issue is no free time, not enough time.


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