Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Do Our Maternity Leave Laws Suck?! A call to action.

This week I read that Save the Children rated the U.S. #28 on the best/worst countries in the world to be a mom. That's worse than countries like Estonia, Latvia and Greece. They took many factors into consideration, but one of the primary reasons why the U.S ranked so low was because of our crappy maternity leave laws. WTF?! How can our "family values" obsessed country think that its good policy to give moms a pathetically short 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, bond with our babies, make sure they are on a good eating/sleeping pattern, and figure out the ins and outs of motherhood before we are expected to hand them off to be raised by total strangers? And because its unpaid many of us can't even afford to stay home for the full 12 weeks. So we are forced to choose between having enough money to buy food and staying home long enough to stop bleeding from childbirth and to get to know our newborns. I mean seriously - that's like Brave New World negative utopia kind of shit.

You might be thinking, "C'mon, I've read your other blog posts. I know you're a drama queen. It can't be that bad." Well, take a looksie at this chart from Forbes that shows how pathetic we are compared to other countries. I mean UK women get 90% pay for a year of maternity leave and frickin' Chile assures their moms 18 weeks of leave at 100% pay. I thought the USA was supposed to be the best. What exactly are we the best in? Because it certainly doesn't seem to be in the things that matter for quality of life.

So now that I've been a total downer in this pre-mother's day post, I'd like to beg you to take some action. The National Partnership for Women and Families has one of those pre-written letter templates that go to your Congress person asking them to expand the current Family Medical Leave Act. It'll take two seconds.

Some other orgs that are trying to do something:

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