May 10, 2009

Forget the flowers: Support working mommas and families

Filed under: Event,Gender,Politics,Violence — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 1:20 pm

I love Stephanie Coontz and I’m glad she blogged on the lack of childcare today.  Lets not even begin talking about maternity leave in this country.

Family values? Valuing the family means supporting families across the country.

Here’s a thought for a Mother’s Day gift that would go beyond the complimentary flowers passed out by restaurants and the complementary speeches churned out by politicians every May: Affordable childcare that is operated in accord with high-quality national standards.

It’s a gift long overdue. In 1971 the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a Comprehensive Child Development Act to provide quality child care for working parents. The bill mandated extensive training for child care workers and strict standards, written and enforced with extensive input from parents. But on December 9, 1971, President Nixon vetoed the bill, declaring that publicly-provided child care would be “a long leap into the dark” that might weaken American families.

Since then, American families have indeed taken a “long leap” into an unanticipated world. Forty-five years ago, just 14 percent of working women who bore a child returned to work by the baby’s first birthday. Today, 83 percent of working moms do, 70 percent of them at the same hours they worked before the child’s birth.

1 Comment »

  1. I’m so glad to have found this post. I always learn so much for Coontz’s point of view. I wanted to let you know that if you’d like to hear more from Stephanie Coontz and her great, history-infused perspectives on marriage, love, and community, check out these recent audio interviews:

    Comment by Alison PB — February 23, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

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