Highlighting the Need for Systemic Change for Working Mothers

Our Letter to Editor in the June 25th edition of the New York Times, "Better Work Policies for Mothers."

In the June 25th edition of the New York Times, we published a Letter to the Editor, “Better Work Policies for Mothers,” in which ABB Co-President Dina Bakst highlights the need to go beyond pushing for culture shifts in the white collar workplace as a means to gender equity. We also need Congress to pass systemic solutions to support mothers of all income levels, particularly those in low wage jobs. Read it here or below.

To the Editor:

Re “Vets, Pharmacists and Happy Working Moms” (column, June 10):

Nicholas Kristof highlights the importance of workplace flexibility in helping mothers stay attached to the work force and achieve equal pay. The key, he argues, is getting men on board.

While this culture change in white-collar jobs is extremely important, thinking harder about “happy working moms” requires examining the experience of middle- and lower-income working moms, especially Black and Latina mothers, who need more than men who are involved to help them achieve equity at work.

At A Better Balance, we hear from these women every day: mothers who face blowback for requesting a modicum of flexibility to care for a sick child or deal with a child care emergency.

Overly rigid and unpredictable scheduling practices, common in low-wage industries, coupled with a lack of supportive work-family policies like paid leave and the inability to access quality, affordable child care, wreak havoc on the lives of millions of mothers in America.

If men want to truly support gender equity, they can do it by supporting the systemic solutions we need from Congress, starting with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a national paid family and medical leave program, and investments in child care.

Dina Bakst
New York
The writer is a co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, a nonprofit legal advocacy group.

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