MomsRising (MR)

MomsRising (MR)


* Depicts the United States as a nation that discriminates against, and is unconcerned about the welfare of, women and children
* Consists of more than 150,000 citizen members
* Is affiliated with more than 85 “aligned organizations”
* Proposes massive taxpayer-funded welfare programs for mothers and their children

Founded in May 2006, MomsRising (MR) describes itself as “a transformative online and on-the-ground multicultural organization of more than a million members and over a hundred aligned organizations” that work to “increase family economic security,” “end discrimination against women and mothers,” and “build a nation where both businesses and families can thrive.” Toward these ends, MR aims to “bring the voices and real-world experiences of women and mothers straight to our nation’s leaders”; “amplify women’s voices and issues in the national dialogue and in the media”; “accelerate grassroots impact on Capitol Hill and at state capitols across the country”; and “hold corporations accountable for fair treatment of women and mothers & for ensuring the safety of their products.”

Representatives of the fledgling MR first met with members of the U.S. Senate on September 28, 2006. At that gathering, then-Senator Barack Obama said: “Despite all the rhetoric about being family-friendly, we have structured a society that is decidedly unfriendly…. What’s missing now is a movement. What’s missing now is an organization. That’s why MomsRising is so important.” That same day, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said: “We’re going to have a great movement of moms around the country … I am absolutely delighted to welcome [MomsRising] to the Senate.”

MomsRising views the United States as a nation that is highly insensitive to the needs and concerns of women (especially mothers) and children, as evidenced by the following MR assertions:

  • “There is [in America] a tragic lack of support for American families and a deep bias against mothers.”
  • “A full quarter of U.S. families with children less than six years old live in poverty.”
  • “Fourteen million children are unsupervised after school … due to a lack of affordable after-school programs.”
  • “In a Harvard study of over 170 countries, the U.S. was one of only four nations without any form of paid leave for new mothers.”
  • “Mothers are 79% less likely to be hired than equally qualified non-mothers.”
  • “A recent study found that mothers were offered $11,000 lower starting pay than non-mothers with the same resume for highly paid jobs, while fathers were offered $6,000 more in starting pay.”
  • “Countries with family-friendly policies in place—such as paid family leave, accessible health care, flexible work policies and subsidized child care—do not have the same wage gap for mothers as we do here. This begins to explain why there are so many American women and children living in poverty, and why there are so few women in leadership.”

MomsRising sums up its major issues of concern using the acronym “MOTHERS”:

MMaternity/Paternity Leave: “Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.”

OOpen Flexible Work: “Flexible work arrangements give parents the ability to work more flexibly, regardless of the person’s level in the organization.”

T: Toxics: “We must act now to fix the Toxic Substances Control Act and phase out BPA so we can have safer chemicals and healthy families.”

HHealthcare for All: “Tell your members of Congress that cutting health care for our children, people who are disabled or elderly, while at the same time increasing tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, does not reflect our nation’s family values!”

EEarly Care and Education: “$10,000 per year, per child, for child care is out of reach for many families. Let’s make sure decision makers have a clear picture about what families in America face every day.”

RRealistic and Fair Wages: “The wage gap between mothers and non-mothers is greater than between women and men—and it’s actually getting bigger…. The wage gap is a direct reflection of bias against working mothers…. No longer should equally qualified women be paid less for the same job as a man.”[1]

SSick Days, Paid: “Nearly 40% of American workers don’t have a single paid sick day…. We ALL get sick. When we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry if we can pay the rent or if we’ll still have a job when we get better.”[2]

MomsRising also contends that “to be an effective safety net, Unemployment Insurance needs to be updated to meet 21st-century economic demands on families.”

For each of the concerns listed above, MR’s proposed solution is for the government to do either of two things: (a) implement a taxpayer-funded assistance program, or (b) impose additional costs and responsibilities on private-sector employers. MR stakes out its positions on these matters in greater detail in The Motherhood Manifesto (authored by MoveOn co-founder Joan Blades), the organization’s seminal document.

[1] [Click here] to view an explanation debunking the notion that women—and mothers in particular—are victimized by wage discrimination.
[2] MomsRising views this as a “women’s issue” because women—particularly mothers—are disproportionately likely to be employed in jobs that do not offer paid sick days. This is not due to discrimination, however. It is due to the fact that women generally—and mothers especially—often seek part-time or temporary jobs that are compatible with their lifestyle choices or parenting obligations. Such jobs are unlikely to offer paid sick days to either women or men.

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