Welcome to Mother and Family Matters
by the MomsRising.org Team
Mother and Family Matters is a new column provided by MomsRising.org. Founded in May of 2006, MomsRising is a rapidly-growing national and state-based grassroots organization working to build a truly family-friendly America to increase the economic security of all women and families. We have gained over 135,000 members and continue to grow each week by the hundreds to thousands. Our members are women with small children, grandparents, stay-at-home-moms, working mothers, and people from rural and urban communities. Through online and on-the-ground civic engagement, we work to strengthen democracy and women's equality in the following key issue areas, which we summarize with the acronym MOTHERS:
M - Maternity/Paternity Leave (Paid family leave to care for newborns and seriously ill family members).
O - Open, Flexible Work (Flexible work arrangements to enable parents to do their paid jobs and family care work).
T - Television We Choose and Other After-School Programs (Only a fraction of children have access to much-needed after-school programs; moreover, parents who use TV as their after-school care have too little control over programming choices).
H - Healthcare for All Kids (All children should be insured for health care needs).
E - Excellent Childcare (When compared to other industrialized nations, much of our childcare is sub-standard).
R - Realistic, Fair Wages (Parents working full-time should be able to support their children, and mothers should earn equal pay for equal work).
S – Sick Days for All (Paid sick days to allow parents time to care for themselves and sick kids without loss of income).
Organizing mothers is of key importance to the feminist movement to take our country to the next step toward equality. Why? Fully 82% of American women have children by the time they are forty-four years old, and 75% of mothers are in the labor force. Motherhood is a framework that unifies women across socioeconomic and political boundaries. Modern women often encounter full-fledged economic inequality for the first time at motherhood when they hit an invisible “maternal wall” (akin to the “glass ceiling”) that impedes their progress in the workforce and thus their overall economic security. Mothers also take wage hits: women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, women with children make 73 cents, and single mothers make about 60 cents. Having a baby is a leading cause of poverty spells in the United States. Maternal discrimination is so insidious because it is sometimes unconscious: a study in the American Journal of Sociology reported recently that mothers were offered $11,000 lower starting pay than non-mothers with the same resume, while fathers were offered $6,000 more!
In addition to organizing mothers (and everyone who has a mother), over eighty-five national and state organizations have signed up to become aligned with MomsRising. They represent some of the nation's strongest women's organizations, family advocacy groups, mother's organizations, child advocacy groups, unions, healthcare organizations, parenting groups, and faith groups. (For a list of these organizations, see http://www.momsrising.org/aboutmomsrising#aligned).
MomsRising.org is working on policy changes on the MOTHERS issue platform as part of a greater push for overall cultural change and women's economic equality. We are bringing in and placing the voices of women at the center of our national political dialogue. The United States has a modern economy where the majority of mothers are in the labor force, but its support structure is based on a 1950s model of a wife-at-home with the children. Studies show that mothers in countries with family-friendly policies (like those in the MOTHERS platform) don't encounter the same wage gaps as do Americans. We can solve this and other problems for mothers and families.
This column will inform you about issues related to the MOTHERS agenda and other important family matters. We'll highlight actions that MomsRising is taking and invite you to join our work via our online outreaches. We’ll provide you an opportunity to amplify your voice, participate in our democracy, and help bring about positive change. We invite you to read our columns in this space and join us at MomsRising.org.
To join MomsRising, go to http://www.momsrising.org.
Pass it on--Tell Congress to Keep up the Fight for Children's Health Care!
Breaking News: Congress voted today on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but didn't gain the 2/3 majority needed to overturn the President's veto. Now, we have another chance. In the coming weeks Congress will bring children's health insurance to the President again -- and they need our support.
With 1 in 8 children in our nation living without any heathcare coverage, we still have work to do. The good news is that your more than 60,000 emailed letters to Congress, along with the work of our partner organizations, helped build the support that made the vote close enough to try again.
TELL CONGRESS TO KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT: Sign our NEW petition to tell Congress: "Children's health care is a top priority. Bring the expanded State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to the finish line. The members of Momsrising.org thank those in Congress who have led the way on this issue, and support their continued leadership. We also urge those who voted against the bill to rethink their positions."
*Click here to add your name to our petition:
This petition will be delivered directly to each and every member of Congress. The more signatures we get, the more powerful this petition will be.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN THE PETITION TOO: Petitions grow by one signature at a time, and every signature matters. Do you have a friend (or ten) who you shares your sense of outrage at the President's veto and Congress' inability to overrule it this time? This is the moment, right now, to forward this web address to them.
*Don't forget to sign the petition and pass it on at: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/signUp.jsp?key=2793
We can do it! --Katie, Kristin, Mary, Ashley, Amy, and the MomsRising Team
P.S. In case you need some facts to inspire you, here are a few reasons the SCHIP program is so important (and great facts for your rally signs!):
- 12% of American Children don't have any insurance coverage at all
- The U.S. Ranks 37th in the world for infant mortality
- One-in-five U.S. jobs does not provide health insurance, a pension, or wages high enough to support a family
- For a family of 4, one year of health insurance costs an average of $11,000
- Over 1/2 of all bankruptcy filings in 2001 were a result of medical expenses
P.P.S. Here are a few articles about Congress' vote.
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/18/washington/19healthcnd.html?_r=1&hp&oref=login
MomsRising.org is an organization working to build a truly family-friendly nation. Started in May, 2006, MomsRising uses the power of online organizing in coordination with grassroots activities and media outreach to educate the public about problems facing American families and to propose common sense solutions. MomsRising.org provides citizens with an opportunity to amplify their voices and to take their concerns to leaders who are in positions to implement real changes.
Find us and join us at MomsRising.org.