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Sunday News Update: August 17, 2014


By 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:

It’s peaceful, it’s quiet, and summer days still linger.  Before revving up for back to school, think about your motherhood, and how it is influenced by the culture and the politics surrounding you.  Could you imagine it being better?

Paid maternity leave is an absolute must these days for family economic security.  But paid paternity leave might even be more important – how could that be? Hint:  It has to do with “cultural norms” according to the New York Times’ Can Family Leave Policies Be Too Generous? It Seems So.

And speaking of cultural norms….there is still controversy over whether a dad can stay home from work with a sick child.  “It was exceedingly hard to say, “Hey, I need to take some time off to care for my sick son”…. But even having a sane, respectful employer didn’t make it easy. What was holding me back was something bigger than the company.”  The Atlantic ponders who stays home when it’s Two Working Parents, One Sick Kid.

California may pass a state law that moves up the date a pregnant woman can become eligible for cash assistance.  The Healthy Babies Act would enable an expectant mother in her second trimester to receive public funds, and is biggest supporters are advocates against domestic violence, according to The Nation.

Social Security may not be sexy, but you really can’t argue with its efficiency and success at cutting the poverty rate.  It’s 77 years young this week, and has always paid its full obligation, year in, year out.  Women benefit the most – because our work lives are interrupted for family care, because we are paid less, and because we live longer, women are much more dependent, and more likely to be lifted out of poverty, by this federal program.  There are good reasons to continue to ensure it’s successful operation.  Expert Monique Morrissey at the Economics Policy Institute makes it easy to understand.

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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