by Jeanne Sager
Well, Moms, there's good news and bad news. The White House convened a Summit on Working Families this week, aimed at tackling some of the tough issues facing moms and dads every day in America. Considering some 70 percent of American moms work in some capacity, the summit was a long time in coming.
But what did it really do for mothers (and fathers)? A look at the good ... and the bad of this week's summit:
Good: President Barack Obama make an official call for new moms to get paid maternity leave, acknowledging that we lag far behind other industrialized nations in that respect. Said the President:
There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not the list you want to be on -- on your lonesome. It’s time to change that.
Bad: Although the president praised states that have a state benefit for new moms, he hasn't endorsed legislation that would create a similar national system funded by a payroll tax.
Good: The president called for Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a law that would require employers to be flexible and make reasonable accommodations for mothers-to-be, noting:
Right now, if you’re pregnant you could potentially get fired for taking too many bathroom breaks -- clearly from a boss who has never been pregnant -- or forced unpaid leave. That makes no sense. Congress should pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act without delay.
Bad: Introduced more than a year ago, the bill endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennyslvania hasn't gotten very far. Right now it sits in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Good: Childcare costs are finally becoming a real topic of conversation with the Department of Labor creating a fund to pay for childcare for workers in job training programs and the Department of Health and Human Services announcing grants to help expand Head Start programs. As Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, pointed out, there's a real problem of women working solely to finance childcare.
Bizarre: The big celebrity "draw" meant to represent moms at the event was Christina Hendricks, who plays a single mom on AMC's Mad Men ... but who doesn't actually have any children!!
What did you think of the Working Families Summit? What about Christina Hendricks showing up?
Image via The White House/Flickr