Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Peaceful Revolution

I found this great blog post today at The Huffington Post talking about the US and how it treats families in our country today. I remember being appalled by this when I read The Mommy Myth last year (click here to read some of the blog posts that the book inspired). Everywhere I look the past week or 2 I'm seeing the same statistic that out of all the countries in the world, the US is one of only 4 or 5 that provides no paid maternity leave. The post also looks at issues such as discrimination against mothers and particularly single mothers when hiring new workers, and the pay gap which still very much exists. This is not about attaining some impossible, Utopian goal-- it is about reaching the same level of respect and support for families that many 3rd world countries manage to provide. How can the US, this great nation that spews out so much big talk about "family values!" and "Helping our children!" and "no child left behind!!!" be so far behind on the world scale when it comes to how we actually treat these children, who will grow up to be tomorrow's leaders?

The linked post is the first among a series of other posts coming this week that will explore different issues dealing with balancing family and work, and how to support both in a more sane and healthy manner. It's a little unclear to me, but I think they'll all show up under Joan Blades' blog... Certainly check out the original post, and try to check back for the follow-ups.


  1. Have you seen Michael Moore's Sicko movie? Maternity leave/support in other countries is one of the health care issues covered in the movie.

    Coming to Canada really pointed out to me the money-first attitude corporate America holds. There is a holiday every month here, on top of the 2 weeks or more vacation, on top of the sicktime. In Idaho, we had 5-6 holidays & if that holiday landed on a weekend, you were screwed & didn't get the holiday. Our sicktime & vacation time were all lumped together into paid time off (PTO) & at my last USA job, I got 8 days PTO/year.

    I was talking with a cashier at Walmart here recently & she was saying they just got a new store manager from Georgia, USA. Immediately, all the salaried managers went from working 7.5 hr days to 12-14 days. The cashier was upset that all these middle-aged men were missing time with their young families & she wasn't even affected since she's on hourly.

    Maternity leave & discrimination is an issue, but I think its really a symptom of a greater cultural value that needs changing- in the US, money reigns supreme. I'm not anticapitalist, but I believe there is more to life than profit.

  2. Switzerland only started nation wide maternity leave a few years ago! (though i think Geneva as a canton has had it for longer).
    It is impressive how many kids people have in the US despite the sad state of maternity leave.

  3. That's odd...The company I worked for over the summer had paid maternity leave for 8-12 weeks. I did not know that they did not do that everywhere. How ridiculous.

  4. Marcy-
    I know about Nalgene. I have about 10! Believe it or not. AND YOU ARE 100% right! I am making the change. The problem is my sparkling water consumption...which most of these arrowhead bottles are!!!



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