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Sunday News Update: August 10, 2014

BC Logo_SquareBy Valerie Young

Welcome to Brain, Child’s Sunday wrap up of policy issues impacting women and children with Valerie Young of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers.

Think we are gaining ground in the effort to remove the barriers between motherhood and equitable treatment at work?  Bad news:   The Wage Penalty For Becoming A Mother Is The Same Now As It Was In 1977.

“According to a new report from the Council on Contemporary Families, since 2006, more people have been letting go of traditional attitudes toward gender roles—where the mom is expected to stay home while the dad works—and are viewing moms who work outside the home and participate in politics more favorably.” Now if we could turn that approval into some paid family leave, so that all working people can deal with life’s normal complications and support their families financially too, we’d be golden.

Who takes the big hit for having kids?  Moms do, according to US News & World Report, because the way we do work in this country makes it an all or nothing proposition. “Professional women often end up opting out because it simply feels impossible to take care of both family and work responsibilities,” Lovejoy says. “The decision was often unexpected and unplanned,” she explains. When Stone and Lovejoy followed up on these opt-out women 10 years later, they found two-thirds of the women had returned to work, but to different types of work that offered greater flexibility – and lower pay.”

State legislators in New Jersey can’t deliver paid sick days – so advocates will make it happen city by city.  Organizers are collecting signatures to get the issue on the ballot in November, according to the New York Times.

Valerie Young writes about news at the intersection of motherhood and public policy. Follow her on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC, and find a weekly blog post at




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