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Policy Update: May 29, 2015

Blake-Mycoskie-and-child-w724A quick look back at events this week impacting women and families, from Valerie Young, a public policy analyst with Mom-mentum.

Members of the US Congress continue their Memorial Day break.  Even so, the news marches on for mothers and the people who love them….

Paid time off for new parents can change lives, according to this new dad in this piece from Glamour MagazinePaternity Leave: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie on How It Changes Everything.  “Frankly, it’s nuts that more companies haven’t figured out what a win-win paid family leave is… Dads especially, who are still the primary breadwinners in 60 percent of households, miss out on an incredible opportunity to bond with their kids. That’s a loss for families and also for companies.”  (Have you noticed?  Glossy magazines are including more articles about public policy – I’ve seen it in Elle and Cosmopolitan too.  Great trend!)

While paid paternity leave is great for dads and kids, it has very real benefits for mothers too.   My she-ro Bryce Covert takes a look for Slate’s XX Factor:   “Paternity leave alone won’t completely change an economy that rewards working men for becoming fathers and penalizes women who become mothers.  But it can change the way we see working fathers and how they see themselves. That also means we start to reevaluate parenthood at work, which benefits women who have always been assumed to be the default caretakers. We begin to assume that everyone can become a parent, and the importance of that shift can’t be understated.”

Breastfeeding continues to be as controversial as ever.  Elle’s Australia edition has a mother with a latched baby on the cover, and the world goes wild.  Intended to provoke, or evidence of a surge of support for breastfeeding?  Given the dramatic drop in the number of hospitals willing to discharge new moms with a bag full of infant formula samples, I’m guessing the latter.

Health care reforms under the Affordable Care Act offer mothers lactation support and access to breastfeeding supplies at no cost, a significant breakthrough.  Yet some insurance companies are still not following the law, as the National Women’s Law Center reports.

US Representative Tammy Duckworth, a new mother and the first disabled women elected to the House of Representatives (and a double amputee Iraq war veteran) has introduced the Friendly Airport for Mothers Act, requiring clean and convenient designated spaces for breastfeeding or expressing milk while traveling by air.  That’s another example of better policy coming from legislatures representing all facets of the population!

Follow Valerie on Facebook (Your (Wo)Man in Washington) and Twitter (@WomanInDC) and find her on the blog at Mom-mentum.

Photo: Glamour Magazine


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