On this Mother’s Day in 2018, California’s mothers need more than flowers, they need an elimination of the working mothers’ tax, fully paid maternity and paternity leave, affordable childcare, universal preschool, good public schools, affordable housing and excellent, affordable public colleges so that mothers can spend less time worrying about how to pay for these things and more time enjoying their children.
Women make up nearly 50 percent of America’s workforce and 40 percent of household breadwinners, but women are actively punished in the workforce for being mothers. According to one study, men’s salaries increased by more than 6 percent when they had children, but women saw their salaries drop by 4 percent for each child they had. We cannot simply pay lip service to celebrating our mothers without understanding that the face of poverty in California is a single mother and her children.
Every other industrialized nation on the planet except the United States grants parents the right to take time off work with pay following the birth or adoption of a child. While California does grant disability pay to new mothers, it is for the short duration of six weeks and only covers approximately 55% of earnings. In European countries, a period of at least 14 to 20 weeks of maternity leave is provided, with 70 to 100% of wages replaced. The total duration of paid leave exceeds nine months in the majority of countries.
When it comes to childcare, the United States, again, unlike all other industrialized nations, does not systematically offer universal high quality childcare or preschool. Parents who can afford it go to great lengths and expense to provide it, but this creates additional barriers to poor and working class families whose children are being competitively disadvantaged compared to their wealthier peers.
On this Mother’s Day, I commit to ending the “mothers' tax” that hurts working mothers, investing in fully paid maternity leave for three months and growing that to nine months to match the European average. I will create high-quality, affordable childcare and universal preschool. I will increase our investment in K-12 education. I will help California parents feel the kind of enthusiastic community support for children and their future that brought California the great dividends known as Hollywood, the Silicon Valley, the great agricultural fertile crescent and the amazing research returns on investments that characterize California’s history and should be a hallmark of a glorious future.
Our mothers need more than rose gardens, they need equal pay and the opportunity for brilliant futures for themselves and their families.
Happy Mother's Day to mothers and to those who play that role in a child's life. You are making all the difference.