Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bias Against Mothers

There is a great article over at about the bias against mothers in this country. Not sure how to go about addressing these problems, but I wholeheartedly agree that paid new mother leave, as well as child care reforms and health care reforms. To be fair and avoid bias, I believe the following article could be applied to single father's as well:

"..Very few Americans realize that there is deep bias against mothers in this country and that we are undermining family's ability to care for children. I began to understand this a few years ago when I learned that equal pay for equal work is just as big a problem today as it was 40 years ago. I was shocked! Women without children now earn 90 cents to a man's dollar, mothers earn 73 cents, and single mothers earn about 60 cents to a man's dollar. A study done last year revealed that a mother is 79 percent less likely to be offered a job when all other factors -- including resumes, education, and job experience -- are equal. Ever wonder why there are so many women and children in poverty? Every wonder why there are so few women in leadership? Since over 80 percent of women become mothers I would say that women have a long way to go before they have equal opportunity in this country. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner and I wrote The Motherhood Manifesto and launched in 2006 and in 2007 with policy and culture change in mind.

Why is there deep bias against mothers? It turns out our country lacks basic supports for families. Out of 173 countries, only four have no paid leave for new mothers -- Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia and the U.S.A. (One of these countries is not like the others.) Our health care system is the most expensive in the world per capita, yet our child mortality rate is 37th. Paid sick days are not required, quality child care is hard to line up and often more than parents can afford, the list goes on. It turns out that having a child is the top cause of a "poverty spell" for families, a time when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses like food and rent. What a sad statistic. Frankly, the U.S. is missing basic family supports, which most other countries take as a given -- and the kicker is that countries with family-friendly policies and program in place don't have the wage gaps we do here. We know how to fix this problem...."