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.