crisis of american families and the bias against mothers

January 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

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The Crisis of American Families & the Bias Against Mothers

Shocking but true: There is a tragic lack of support for American families and a deep bias against mothers.

– A full quarter of U.S. families with children less than six years old live in poverty.

– Nine million children are without healthcare coverage and many more are under-insured.

– Fourteen million children are unsupervised after school. 40,000 of these are kindergartners due to a lack of affordable afterschool programs.

– In a Harvard study of over 170 countries, the U.S. was one of only four nations without any form of paid leave for new mothers. (The others were Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea.)

– Women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, but mothers make just 73 cents, and single mothers make even less — about 60 cents to a man’s dollar.

– Mothers are 79% less likely to be hired than equally qualified non-mothers.

– A recent study found that mothers were offered $11,000 lower starting pay than non-mothers with the same resume for highly paid jobs, while fathers were offered $6,000 more in starting pay.

– Of the twenty most competitive economies in the world, the U.S. is the only one that does not require employers to provide paid sick days.

Three-quarters of American mothers are now in the labor force. Yet we are stuck in a 1950’s mentality which assumed that there was a full-time wife at home taking care of the children (although this was not often possible for lower income women). It is time for our legislative policies and workplaces to match the dynamics of the modern American family. Morally this is the right thing and moreover it makes common sense that to have a healthy economy we must also have healthy families.

Countries with family-friendly policies in place—such as paid family leave, accessible health care, flexible work policies and subsidized child care—do not have the same wage gap for mothers as we do here. This begins to explain why there are so many American women and children living in poverty, and why there are so few women in leadership.

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