Nearly a century ago, New Deal-era feminists fought for fairer workplace policies for mothers. But today’s mothers, especially those who are low wage workers and women of color, are still suffering amid a brutal care crisis and a lack of supportive workplace policies.
As ABB Co-President Dina Bakst wrote in a recent op-ed at the Hill, Congress must heed the call of New Deal feminists with bold policy action to value care and transform our workplaces.
“Ninety years ago, New Deal feminists pushing for fairer laws and policies so that mothers, especially those in low-wage jobs, could take time off for education and providing care, lobbied for maternity leave and investments in child care and urged recognition of women’s unpaid caregiving as part of the calculation of Social Security benefits.
Yet nearly a century later, outdated laws and workplace policies continue to punish mothers — especially women of color who cannot do their jobs from home — and make it impossible for them to work and adequately care for their families.
…Too many mothers are living on the edge, and the lack of supportive workplace policies routinely force them to make the impossible choice between caring for themselves or their loved ones at the risk of falling into poverty. Until and unless we reform these outdated laws and policies once and for all, the systemic inequalities laid bare by the pandemic will only worsen and millions of women in America will continue to jeopardize their livelihoods simply by having children.”
Congress just passed the American Rescue Plan, which will provide critical funding for childcare and some important economic security measures for working families. But Congress deleted a provision from that plan that would have extended and expanded the emergency paid leave provisions from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—a decision that will harshly impact mothers. In order for Congress to demonstrate its support for working mothers, they must pass permanent paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave for all workers.
Congress must also prioritize the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, to urgently put a stop to pregnant workers being forced to choose between their job and their health.
It is as urgent now as it was 90 years ago to enact fairer workplace policies for mothers. Join us in calling for a #NewDealForMoms this Women’s History Month.