Policy Update: May 1, 2015

Policy Update: May 1, 2015

24-kissing-couple-baby.w529.h352.2xA quick look back at events this week impacting women and families, from Valerie Young, a public policy analyst with Mom-mentum.

Massachusetts moves on paternity leave –  Already in effect is a new law which requires firms with 6 or more employees to give new father 8 weeks of paternity leave, unpaid.  Why is this significant?  Because paternity leave has the potential to shift the division of household labor years after the baby is born, good for the marriage, family economic security, and the mother’s pay parity.  “A variety of researchers have looked at this question, and what they’ve almost uniformly discovered is that fathers who take paternity leave are far more likely to assume more household responsibilities further down the road, thereby helping to diminish the possibility of future marital strife.”  So says Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun, in New York Magazine.

The world’s largest private equity firm, Blackstone Group LP, is extending its paid maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks at full pay, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Why such a  move?  To be more competitive in attracting top female talent, and increase the percentage of women in its ranks.  Smart move.

Last month, the Cincinnati Reds announced the opening of a very comfortable lactation room at the baseball stadium to make it easier on families and breastfeeding mothers.   Now, my very own Washington Nationals have gone public with plans for a “state of the art” nursing facility to replace the designated conference room with no view of the action.  Play ball, y’all.

Getting geared up to go on maternity leave, and want to make the very most of it?  There’s an app for th– no, wait, not exactly.  It’s a webinar, not an app, by Lori Mihalich-Levin of Mindful Return. and  you can watch it here.

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

Photo: Jessica Peterson/Getty Images

Policy Update: April 17, 2015

Policy Update: April 17, 2015


In this photo taken April 1, 2015, Jen Psaki,, right, and Katie Fallon, pose at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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

There have been several interesting developments this week from the intersection of motherhood and public policy.

President Obama sat down to talk about equal pay, paid family leave, and what he hopes for his daughters at a live-streamed Town Hall in Charlotte NC.  Never in the history of the Republic has the Chief Executive spent so much time so publicly engaged on issues of family caregiving, women’s rights and economic status.  You can watch a video recording or follow the tweets #ObamaTownHall, #womenslives, and #equalpay.

The US Department of Labor wants you to know exactly what your legal protections are if you are pregnant or nursing and employed.  They’ve updated their interactive map, so you can find out at a glance what federal and state laws apply to you.  The DOL also released a wonderful infographic showing how far into their pregnancies mothers stay on the job, and how quickly they come back after giving birth.

There are two pregnant women working in the White House – another first for motherhood and politics.  One of them, Communications Director Jen Psaki, was pregnant when she was hired.  She had concerns.  “Instead McDonough — and later Obama himself — assured Psaki they would accommodate her needs as a new mom amid the West Wing’s nonstop demands. She started in the post Wednesday and is one of two pregnant women serving as assistant to the president — a first for such a top level adviser in Obama’s presidency and practically unheard of under previous presidents.”

Equal Pay Day arrived this week, marking the gap between men’s and women’s wages even when both work full time and year round.  Controversy ensued – some say the pay gap is a myth.  There can be no debate, though, about the fact that women are the majority of those in poverty, and woefully under-represented in public office, in the C-suite, on boards of directors, and the upper echelons of the professions even though we are more educated than men and comprise half the workforce.  The National Partnership for Women & Families released a great report, which includes data on the pay gap between mothers and others, much larger than that between men and women generally.


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