Welcome to Brain, Child’s Sunday policy update where we look at issues impacting women and children with Valerie Young, Public Policy Analyst for Mom-mentum.
There were some important developments this week in the slow crawl to improving mother’s economic status.
Right here in the nation’s capital, employees of the Washington DC city government can now take up to 8 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a new child or to care for a seriously ill family member. Bryce Covert writes in Think Promise: “Overall, just 15 percent of those who work for local governments have access to paid leave and 18 percent of state government employees have it.” That certainly needs to change.
Child care is a huge issue for American families, and the single biggest family expense most everywhere. The quality tends to mediocre and varies greatly from location to location. Roll Call finds a glimmer of hope. “One piece of good news is the House recently passed an update to the Child Care Development Block Grant that will put much-needed standards in place for publicly subsidized child care. While this bill won’t solve all our problems when it comes to helping families afford quality child care, it’s a positive and important step toward making sure that child care paid for with tax dollars is safe and that providers have basic training.” It’s a foundation that could be built upon, to promote economic security in middle class households.
New data confirms long-held suspicions – a significant portion of the gender pay gap is caused by women having children. “Michelle Budig, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has sliced and diced wage data and, in both testimony before Congress and in a recently released report, found one of the biggest culprits behind the wage gap: “motherhood” reports Brigid Schulte in the Washington Post.
You’ve got to love Betsey Stevenson. She’s a mom, an economist, and advises the President on policy changes that could make the workplace a fairer place for women with children. In a recent interview she said: “Researchers have shown that policies for working families like paid parental leave, paid maternity leave, workplace flexibility, and so on make it easier for women to participate in the labor force. One of the reasons some of the countries have gotten ahead of the U.S. is because they’ve adopted those types of policies.”
Follow Valerie on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC. Valerie went to a feminist conference in New York City last weekend. See her thoughts at Mom-mentum’s Your Woman in Washington blog.