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PSN on May 8, 2006 - 11:23am
Want a good Mothers Day present?
How about making our workplaces more family-friendly, so that a sick child doesn't mean a crisis for a parent having to beg for time off?
Or, how about providing paid family leave so that a parent can actually afford to stay home with their kids when they're born or can take the time to care for a sick family member?
Short of enacting new laws by Sunday, you might buy Mom a copy of the Motherhood Manifesto, written by Kristin Rowe-Findbeiner and MoveOn founder Joan Blades, which details the unfriendly workplace facing parents today and what political leaders should be doing about it.
Here's the hard reality for most families: the last few decades have seen massive changes in the workplace but public policy has not kept up. Sixty-eight million women now work, including 73% of all mothers with children under 18, yet most workplaces are not designed to provide parents, mothers and fathers, with the flexibility they need to balance work and family.
The shame of the US is that for all our talk of valuing families, among nations the US workplace is almost uniquely hostile to motherhood: in a survey of countries around the world, the only countries which do not have some kind of government policy providing paid leave to new mothers are”¦ Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and the United States. Even as the US shares its lack of family-friendly policies with a handful of the smallest, poorest countries in the world, 84 other countries in the world provide at least 14 weeks of paid leave at full pay with other policies that make the workplace more friendly for parents.
But if the federal government in the United States has failed to act, the good news is that state leaders across the country are pushing forward with new policies to give parents the time to care for their families without sacrificing their jobs. This Dispatch will detail both the politics and the policy details of this new movement in the states for a more family-friendly workplace.