Take a glance at any contemporary parenting blog, website or social media group and you’ll see the “mommy wars” playing out.
The battles range from helicopter parenting versus free-range kids to sling versus stroller and cloth versus disposable diaper.
While the battles (and the guilt that comes with them) are real, they are keeping our attention from the real mommy wars: the abysmal lack of national policies to protect new mothers in the workplace.
Almost three-quarters of mothers are in the labor force and they are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households. Still, the U.S. is one of the few nations on the globe that does not ensure that new moms have paid maternity leave. In fact, we have no federal policies on paid leave of any kind and our policy on unpaid leave does not protect enough working women.
This Mother’s Day we need national policies that reflect our nation’s true family values.
Every country except the U.S., Suriname and Papua New Guinea provides paid maternity leave according to the World Policy Forum. Even in countries with poor civil rights records, such as Somalia, Iran and North Korea, women get at least some paid maternity leave.
Women receive 12 weeks in India, 16 weeks in the Netherlands, and almost 70 weeks in Sweden.