Policy Update: January 23, 2015

Policy Update: January 23, 2015

Polic Update GraphicBefore we shift into weekend mode, here’s a quick look back at events this week impacting women and families, from Valerie Young, a public policy analyst with Mom-mentum.

The President definitely placed paid family leave, pay equity, earned sick days, and childcare at the center of national economic priorities in his State of the Union address.  This unleashed a deluge of discussion.


State of the Union – The President asked Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act for seven earned sick days per year per worker to protect the job security of workers who are also family caregivers.  He placed access to affordable childcare as a basic family security issue, and dismissed its characterization as a marginalized “woman’s issue.” He did the same for paid leave, so that new birth or adoptive parents could bond with their children, while maintaining their workforce connection.  He also insisted that women’s compensation should be protected with a pay equity bill, to close the gender-based wage gap.

Dear President Obama: What About Parents Who Stay Home? – A lively discussion around this topic erupted on BlogHer with tons of comments from all perspectives.  The range of opinions shows our deep ambivalence about the worth of motherhood and the work of parenting, and the extent to which society benefits from the children we raise and the policies we need.

Who Is Deciding These Policies, Anyway? – Most of the people drafting and passing our laws are male and aren’t the ones with primary caregiving responsibility.  It goes a long way to explaining the how and why of our current family policies like childcare/early education, workplace flexibility,  or paid leave programs. Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics has a wealth of information.

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


Sunday News Update: September 28, 2014

Sunday News Update: September 28, 2014

BC Logo_SquareWelcome 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 formerly National Association of Mothers’ Centers.

With mid-term elections now on the horizon, the members of Congress have scampered home to look after their seats.  Your (Wo)Man in Washington is still at her post, however, and sends us this summary of weekly highlights.

We haven’t seen this before – the US Department of Labor is promoting paid leave with this video, comparing Germany’s 14 weeks of maternity leave to the US’s 0 weeks.  Because a national standard is such a heavy lift in this country, the DOL’s Women’s Bureau is also channeling big money to 3 states and the District of Columbia to fund feasibility studies for state-wide paid leave programs.  Labor Secretary Tom Perez says “We need to do more to give people the tools to be responsible employees and good caregivers, so they don’t have to choose between the families they love and the jobs and economic security they need.”  It’s a start.

Are women’s magazine waking up?  (We know Brain, Child has always been awake: ) See what you make of some of these issues covered in mainstream women’s magazines this week: Elle just posted Why Women’s Role in Politics Is More Important Than EverGlamour has come out with Motherhood, Penalty Begone and Vanity Fair invites you to Watch Emma Watson Deliver a Game-Changing Speech on Feminism at the U.N.  Maybe there IS more to life than a model search of Fall’s “must have” accessories.

There may be more to the pay gap than what happens at work.  In fact, the disparity may start much, much earlier, according to the New York Times Motherlode blog, and parents could be implicated.  “While it’s true that plenty of discrimination exists in the workplace, the way we rear our daughters probably contributes something to the persistent wage gap that exists among adults.”  Something to think about.

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.