Sunday News Update: August 10, 2014

Sunday News Update: August 10, 2014

BC Logo_SquareBy Valerie Young

Welcome to Brain, Child’s Sunday wrap up of policy issues impacting women and children with Valerie Young of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers.

Think we are gaining ground in the effort to remove the barriers between motherhood and equitable treatment at work?  Bad news:   The Wage Penalty For Becoming A Mother Is The Same Now As It Was In 1977.

“According to a new report from the Council on Contemporary Families, since 2006, more people have been letting go of traditional attitudes toward gender roles—where the mom is expected to stay home while the dad works—and are viewing moms who work outside the home and participate in politics more favorably.” Now if we could turn that approval into some paid family leave, so that all working people can deal with life’s normal complications and support their families financially too, we’d be golden.

Who takes the big hit for having kids?  Moms do, according to US News & World Report, because the way we do work in this country makes it an all or nothing proposition. “Professional women often end up opting out because it simply feels impossible to take care of both family and work responsibilities,” Lovejoy says. “The decision was often unexpected and unplanned,” she explains. When Stone and Lovejoy followed up on these opt-out women 10 years later, they found two-thirds of the women had returned to work, but to different types of work that offered greater flexibility – and lower pay.”

State legislators in New Jersey can’t deliver paid sick days – so advocates will make it happen city by city.  Organizers are collecting signatures to get the issue on the ballot in November, according to the New York Times.

Valerie Young writes about news at the intersection of motherhood and public policy. Follow her on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC, and find a weekly blog post at




Sunday News Update: September 7, 2014

Sunday News Update: September 7, 2014

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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 (Formerly known as NAMC)  National Association of Mothers’ Centers.

It’s back to school and back to work in the nation’s Capital.  With the mid-term elections coming in November, no one expects much to be going on even though Congress is back in session.  However, notable events are occurring elsewhere.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is languishing in the US Congress, but the states are having more success protecting pregnant women at work.  Illinois has passed a pregnancy workplace protection law that will go into effect next January.  New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia also recently passed similar bills.  Their aim is to keep pregnant women on the job as long as possible, and prevent employers from forcing them onto unpaid leave or firing them unnecessarily.

California has become only the second state in the Union to pass a paid sick days bill, which should bring some relief to the 44% of its workforce with not a single paid sick day.  Now employers are required to offer at least 3 paid sick days per year to all workers, except those direct care workers who tend to the elderly and disabled in their homes.  They are not covered by the bill.

Gender always makes a difference…..and it’s a big one in terms of who cares for elderly parents more, sons or daughters.  “Women spend as much time as they can caring for their elderly parents, while men do as little as they can, according to a new study” reported by Think Progress.

I see tired women….in this series of charts from the US Department of Labor about the employment of moms and dads according to income, age of children, job sector, and family status.  In every category, the majority of mothers are employed, as are the majority of fathers.  Whether single or married, America’s parents are tapped out, and when moms come home they are still working, they just don’t get paid for it.  How similar, or different, is your situation from most of Americans?  Check ’em out.

Follow Valerie on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC, and find a weekly blog post at