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R: Realistic & Fair Wages

Gross Domestic Product – What if you got paid to raise your children?

The idea to write a play about motherhood came to me when I was writing my last play, Flipside and nursing my second child. Actually, it had been gestating since the day I was nursing my first child and complaining to my HartBeat Co-Artistic Director Greg Tate that the intersecting struggles of child care, career and being broke were making motherhood feel impossible.

To this my wise friend said, “Well that’s what’s behind the movement for counting childrearing as part of the Gross Domestic Product. Think about how much easier this would all be if raising children was valued for what it is – producing human capital, which is two thirds of any nation’s capital.” Hmmm… that was something to think about.

But I didn’t really think about it again until that second kid came along and I was consumed with the feeling that life could spin out of control at the drop of a pacifier. What would it look like if motherhood was valued monetarily in the US? How different would my life be? How different would all of our lives be?

Thanks to NYC Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Pregnant Woman is Back at Work

Floralba, a pregnant retail worker in the Bronx, was sent home on unpaid leave because she needed to temporarily avoid heavy lifting in order to prevent having another miscarriage. Last week, A Better Balance used the new law we championed, the NYC Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, to get Floralba back at work, with backpay, and to convince her employer to update it’s policies in compliance with the law! This week, she has been pricing and hanging clothes instead of hauling heavy piles of clothes as she was required to do in the past. Thanks to this powerful new law, Floralba did not have to choose between her paycheck and a healthy pregnancy. 

I See Sexism

Sometimes I think I’m going crazy, only I know I’m not because other women tell me they notice the same thing.  It’s complicated, and it’s hard to keep it in focus sometimes, but it really is there.  I don’t see dead people,.  I don’t hear voices – I just see gender distinctions being made where other people see ….

When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: Linking Women’s Economic Security and Small Business Success

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s press conference last month announcing the House Democrats Economic Agenda for Women and Families, “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds,” ended with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s speech highlighting the importance of the Agenda to small businesses.  Congresswoman Velazquez is certainly an example of women succeeding; she is one of the few women (and the first Latina) to chair a full committee in the House. Velasquez is the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, which represents a community not always associated with support for policies like those in the newly announced agenda. Yet, as Velasquez showed, small business men and women have many reasons to support these policies.

Working Moms Just Blamed (Again)!?

 Deep breath. Count to 10. Can’t. Believe. He. Really. Said. That.

Yesterday at a Washington Post event, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) said that America is so “mediocre” in educational outcomes because “mom is in the workplace.”

… oh REALLY?!

There is steam coming out of the ears of moms across America.

Governor Bryant deserves a Hall of Shame trophy for blaming moms (moms!) for the failure of our nation’s leaders to step up. But before that Hall of Shame of shame is built, the moms of America need an apology from him.

The problem in our nation isn’t that moms are working, it’s that our nation isn’t working for moms.

And Governor Bryant isn’t insulting a small number of people here: Most women (over 80 percent!) become moms at some point in their lives.

Why Most Women Can’t “Lean In” Without Stronger Laws

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, has kicked up all sorts of controversy with her argument that career women can be their own worst enemy and should “lean in” more to their jobs and their ambitions. But the biggest, largely unspoken problem is not that she is elitist, or placing blame in the wrong place. It is that most women can’t rely on their work ethic or the good will of their boss to get ahead— they need stronger legal protections to effectively “lean in.”

It’s a vast, systemic issue. Women’s legal rights – at the moment of hiring, when they receive their paycheck, when they get pregnant, after they give birth – are consistently trampled, and many of them feel powerless to fight back. A recent WSJ/NBC poll found that an overwhelming 84 per cent of American women perceive bias in the workplace.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend! It’s #momdance (& link opportunity) time!

It’s time to celebrate! Here’s a fun and free way to celebrate Mother’s Day! Check out MomsRising’s Mother’s Day video you can customize and send your mom (or to yourself!). Check it out here: http://momdance.com

Every year, MomsRising comes up with a creative way to tell Mom she’s the best. This year, the inspiration came from all the cool dances we’ve seen (and, yes, maybe tried). Everything from a healthy food Harlem Shake (with a real Harlem Shake dancer) to a fair pay fandango is in there. It’s a lot of fun!

Check it out and let us know what you think! Tweet @MomsRising or leave a comment right here. Thank you!

And BIG thanks to all those who are sharing it! Here are some other sites where you can find the #momdance:

What’s Wrong with Comp Time? Ask Government Workers

This week, Martha Roby (R-AL) will introduce the same discredited comp time bill that leaders in her party have been pushing for years. Misleadingly titled “The Working Families Flexibility Act,” HR 1406 would permit private sector employers to offer compensation time in lieu of overtime pay to their hourly work force.

At first glance the idea seems great: flexible time, family friendly. What’s not to love?

Public sector workers can answer this question.  In 1985, Congress voted to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allowing government employers to offer comp time in lieu of overtime pay.  Family and flexibility had nothing to do with it:  the bill was framed as a cost-savings measure for cash strapped government agencies. The results:  longer work hours and less pay for America’s families.

Caregiving in the Face of Hostility

Photo: I am holding my son, then a baby, at my parents’ home in New Hampshire in 2004. At the time, my parents, grandparents and youngest sibling lived in the same three-bedroom townhouse. Growing up, I always lived with extended family or family members stayed with us for extended periods of time. -Elisa

Any day now, my baby sister, who is actually 28-years-old, will have a baby of her own and stay with me. She will be a single mother and I am her only family in the area.

She and the baby will be the 6th and 7th household members in my three-bedroom house here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Depending on your cultural background, this is a given – she is familia after all – or you will look at me as if I have three heads. What do your parents / husband / kids say about this? What the heck is she going to do? — as if single parenthood is the worst thing to befall on anyone.

A Snake?! Lawmaker Sexually Harasses Teen at a Hearing

“I am usually a very shy person, and now I am more outgoing. I was able to teach those children about certain things like snakes that we have and the turtles that we have. … I want to do something toward that, working with children when I get older.”

These inspiring words come from a high school student, who recently testified to fund the Connecticut State Science Center. Aren’t these all things we want for young women? Positive teenage experiences, overcoming shyness, gaining confidence, finding a passion—this girl has got it all, and not only that, but she took the brave step of sharing her experience and participating in the political system so that other teens could have the same opportunities.

Here’s how State Representative Ernest Hewitt replied: “If you’re bashful, I’ve got a snake sitting under my desk here.”

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