Saturday, March 8, 2008

Celebrate International Women's Day: Take a stand for paid family leave in America!

Today is International Women's Day! A joint Harvard and McGill University study of over 170 countries found that the U.S. is one of only four countries that doesn't have any paid leave for new mothers.

• A new mom in Chile can take up to 18 weeks off after childbirth
• French mothers are entitled to16 weeks
• German moms, 14 weeks
• Italian moms, 20 weeks—all at 100% of pay
• Canadian moms recently won the right to take off a full year from work after the birth of a child at 60% pay
• New mothers in Norway, can take up to one year off at 80% of pay
• Several countries extend paid leave to both mothers and fathers

Meanwhile, the United States, the wealthiest of all nations, provides absolutely no paid leave for parents after the birth of a new child. What a disgrace to our nation!

Did you know it takes eight to ten hours per day to breastfeed a newborn? That is according to the La Leche League. Nursing mothers of newborns know firsthand the many long, and seemingly continuous, hours of breastfeeding that it takes to nourish your baby-- especially during the first few months. While (thankfully) I did not have to rush back to work immediately after having B, many moms do, which can unfortunately halt breastfeeding for many mamas and babes. The American Academy of Family Physicians report that while 68% of both SAHM and full-time working moms nurse early postpartum, only 11% of full-time working moms are still nursing at 12-months of age compared to 22% of SAHM.

Moms Rising is encouraing everyone to take a stand and tell our senators and presidential candidates that families in America need paid family leave. The Presidential candidates talk about bringing new ideas and leadership to this country. Some of them even have plans in place to enact paid family leave, but none of those promises will become policy unless the candidates know that moms (and dads) are paying attention. Tell the leading Presidential candidates that moms in America need paid family leave.

According to a new study just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, 49% of American mothers throw together some sort of paid leave following childbirth by using a combination of sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and employer-provided maternity leave. A full 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave-so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 8, is International Women's Day. A joint Harvard and McGill University study of over 170 countries found that the U.S. is one of only four countries that doesn't have any paid leave for new mothers.[3] This is a national disgrace.

The next president has a chance to right this wrong. But we need to get on their radar now, while they are courting the "mom" vote. Send an email to the leading Presidential candidates asking them, upon taking office, to make it a priority to pass national paid family leave.

So take 2 minutes to tell the candidates that we need a National paid family leave act!

For more information:

Happy International Women's Day!

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