Today is Mother’s Day, and I feel very lucky to have an amazing mother, who has taught me so much about compassion and kindness, two wonderful grandmothers who were as generous as they were caring, a mother-in-law who is a role model to me and one of the strongest women I know and my wife, who is the mother of my daughter and has been an amazingly selfless person during the first few weeks of her life.
The women in my life have my utmost respect and admiration. I try to always do right by them and help them into positive situations. Yet, for some reason, our government still lags far behind in ensuring that our mother’s have their needs met.
Women earn an average of 20 percent less in wages compared to men in similar circumstances. For women of color, the gap is even greater and the pay gap is closing so slowly that Hispanic and Black women would have to wait over 100 years for it to close without legislation.
When women become mothers, the workforce is not kind. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave for women nationwide, but this is contingent on company size and hours worked, thus over 35 percent of women are not covered by FMLA. Only four states have publicly funded paid maternity leave, which is ridiculous considering that it is good for businesses.
Perhaps one of the most egregious inequities when it comes to our nation’s women is their access to female specific health care. All across the country, there is a fight to ensure that women cannot make choices about their reproductive rights when it comes to abortion, birth control and the ability to seek low cost treatment for health services with Planned Parenthood.
Women are the bedrock and foundation of our society. Our policy’s surrounding their personal and professional lives should reflect the love that we have for our mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunties and friends.