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Thursday, January 04, 2007

MomsRising on Conservative Talk Show

MomsRising will be on a conservative call-in show today at 4 p.m. E.S.T.
Call 1-800-955-1776 if you want to participate in the discussion.

Some talking points they forwarded:

-DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MOTHERS/MATERNAL PROFILING FACTS:

1. Mothers earn less: Non-mothers earn 90 cents to a man's dollar; mothers earn 73 cents; and single mothers earn about 60 cents to a man's dollar. This explains why so many women and children in the U.S. live in poverty, and why there are so few women in leadership.

2. Discrimination against hiring mothers is rampant. Recent Cornell University research by Dr. Shelley Correll confirmed what many American women learn when they look for work: Mothers are 44 percent less likely to be hired than non-mothers who have the same résumé, experience, and qualifications; and mothers are offered significantly lower starting pay (study participants offered non-mothers an average of $11,000 more than mothers) for the same job as equally qualified non-mothers.

3. Ann Crittenden writes, "....a college-educated woman with one child can easily pay a 'Mommy tax' (lost lifetime earnings) of $1 million." This explains why so many more elderly women than men live in poverty.

Supporting facts:

- 82 percent of all American women become mothers by the time they are forty-four years old.

- Among all of the moms in America, almost three-quarters have jobs outside of their homes. American women now make up 46 percent of the entire paid labor force.

- Statistics from 2001 reveal that in the United States of America--land of opportunity--a full one-quarter of families with children under age six earned less than $25,000 that year. An income level that is so low most families of four would qualify for food stamps.

KEY MESSAGE: National policies and programs with proven success in other countries--like paid family leave, flexible work options, subsidized childcare and preschool, as well as healthcare coverage for all kids--are largely lacking in America. These programs support parents, in particular primary caregivers, hence there is substantially less bias against mothers in countries with good support for families.

M = MATERNITY/PATERNITY (PAID FAMILY LEAVE) FACTS:

1. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't have some form of paid leave for new moms. And of 168 countries studied world-wide, the U.S. is one of only 4 that doesn't have some form of paid family leave for new moms. That puts the US--one of the wealthiest nations on the planet--in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland. Too many mothers in the U.S. must choose between caring for their new infants and working to feed their families.

2. A weighty consequence emerges from this lack of family support. Research reveals that a full 25 percent of "poverty spells," or times when a family's income slips below what is needed for basic living expenses, begin with the birth of a baby.

3. There is a strong correlation between paid parental leave and thriving children--one study found that a year of job-protected paid leave is tied to 25 percent fewer post-neonatal deaths and those benefits continued forward in the child's life. Our lack of paid leave shows in our infant mortality rates. In terms of infant mortality rates, the U.S. tied for thirty-eighth in the world with Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, and the United Arab Emirates in 2003.

Supporting fact:

- 61 percent of American families with children have both parents in the labor force.

O = OPEN, FLEXIBLE WORK FACTS:

1. Workplace flex-time policies will go a long way towards helping women maintain viable careers and remain economically stable while having families. Businesses also benefit with higher employee retention, higher employee productivity, lower training and recruiting costs, and better employee performance.

2. Low wage workers are the least likely to have work flexibility; and most are, as Joan Williams reports, "One sick child away from being fired."

Supporting facts:

-A survey of working women reported in the Harvard Business Review found the majority of women surveyed (64 percent) reported flexible work arrangements as "either extremely or very important to them." The survey also found that, "by a considerable margin, highly qualified women find flexibility more important than compensation..."

- Highly qualified and generally fairly well paid women are the most likely to find or demand flexible schedules.

- Almost three-fourths of working adults state they don't control their work schedules. In fact, the top reason noted by highly educated and trained women for leaving the "fast track" is the lack of family time. The lack of flexible work options often leads women to quit needed jobs.

- When women take time out of the workforce they face huge wage hits, or pay cuts, when they later return (as 74 percent do within two years). These wage hits take a life-long toll: On average, women take an 18 percent cut in their pay, a significant wage hit, for an average of 2.2 years out of the labor force--with women in business sectors taking an increased hit of 28 percent. For those women who stay out of the labor force for three or more years, the news is even bleaker: A 37 percent loss of earning power.

T = TV & OTHER AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS FACTS:

1. More than 40,000 kindergarteners are home alone after school, with a total of more than 14,000,000 kindergarteners through twelfth grade kids on their own after school without supervision.

2. By the time the average child gets to elementary school they will have viewed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on television.

3. The peak time for juvenile crime is right after school gets out, which makes a compelling case for after-school programs.

Supporting facts:

- Providing after school care to at-risk youth not only benefits kids, but also the community coffers. A study of the effects of the After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002 found that every dollar spent on an at-risk youth in an after school program brings a return of $8.92 to $12.90, mainly due to the amount saved by channeling the at-risk youth away from a life of crime (remember the juvenile crime rate is highest in the hours after school). Providing after school programs to non-risk youth also brings a return (between $2.99 and $4.05 for every dollar spent) due to, in part, improved school performance and graduation rates.

H = HEALTHCARE FOR ALL KIDS FACTS:

1. The truth is that according to the World Health Organization, the United States spends more on healthcare per person than any other nation in the world, yet still was only tied for the twenty-eighth highest life expectancy, and ranked in at a low thirty-seventh for our mortality rate of children under five years old. We aren't getting much for the money we spend.

2. Medical issues are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. In fact, half of all bankruptcy filings in 2001 were related to medical issues. There's been a twenty-threefold (2,300 percent) increase in medical related bankruptcy filings between 1981, when only 8 percent of bankruptcies were medical related, and 2001.

3. Most of those who went bankrupt had health insurance (a full 76 percent had insurance when their illness started), and those filing for bankruptcy are "predominantly in the middle or working classes." In fact, working families make up 81 percent of uninsured people.

Supporting facts:

- There were nine million uninsured children and forty-six million uninsured Americans in 2004.

- "The United States remains the only Western nation without universal health insurance coverage," writes Rick Mayes in his book, Universal Coverage: The Elusive Quest for National Health Insurance. Two-thirds of the 191 countries tracked by the World Health Organization pay a higher percentage of their citizen's total healthcare costs than the U.S. does.

E = EXCELLENT CHILDCARE FACTS:

1. A Children's Defense Fund study found child care in the United States costs between $4,000 and $10,000 a year for each child, with the costs rising for babies and younger children, special-needs kids, and kids living in parts of the country where the cost of living is higher.

2. The Children's Defense Fund reports that a study (Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers) examining childcare in four states found, "child care at most centers in the United States is poor to mediocre," with 12 percent of centers providing less than minimal quality care-—defined as care that could harm "children's health, safety, and development." As for the centers that rated well for good quality care, those comprised only 14 percent.

3. The average childcare provider earns a salary of just $18,060 a year, and many don't have healthcare coverage.

Supporting facts:

- To put the cost of childcare in perspective, consider that a full one-quarter of families with children under age six earned less than $25,000 in 2001.

- Quality childcare saves money: One study (Significant Benefits by Lawrence Schweinhart and others) that researched the long-term impacts of good quality childcare for low-income children came to a similar conclusion, the Children's Defense Fund reports. That study found, "After 27 years, each $1 invested saved over $7 by increasing the likelihood that children would be literate, employed, and enrolled in postsecondary education, and making them less likely to be school dropouts, dependent on welfare, or arrested for criminal activity or delinquency."

- A Wisconsin study that looked at the impacts of extending their Kindergarten through twelfth grade education system to include free preschool for four year olds found that such programs save money in the long run. The study found early education reduces later crime rates and welfare needs, while increasing the total educational cost-benefit by 68 percent—partly through lowering the need for special education (saving $42 million) and students needing to repeat grades less often.

- The military has a good model and the Department of Defense has over 200,000 children in their care. The military prioritizes excellent child care, not just with their policies, but with funding: For example, in 2004 the Department of Defense budgeted $379 million to support serving over 200,000 children, not including additional supplemental funds. Consider that in the Army a family that makes below $28,000 annually pays no more than $43 per week for child care, or around $2,000 annually. And then compare that to the national average cost of childcare, which can rise to $10,000 per year or more. Moreover, military childcare workers are paid a living wage or better. Childcare subsidies make a real difference, particularly as the number of children and families who live in poverty grows. According to the U.S. Census, 35.9 million Americans lived in poverty in 2003, up from 31.6 million just three years before.

R= REALISTIC LIVING WAGE & EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK FACTS:

1. The minimum wage must be raised: By working a 52-week full-time job without unpaid breaks, the federal minimum wage comes to $10,712 per year.

2. Amy Caiazza, from The Institute for Women's Policy Research, notes, "We did a study that found if there wasn't a wage gap, the poverty rates for single moms would be cut in half, and the poverty rates for dual earner families would be cut by about 25 percent."

3. A close look at the numbers shows that the reason the wage gap is so large for all women is that the vast majority of women become mothers (82 percent). This majority of American women—mothers—are actually making less than the current average reported by the U.S. Census of 76 cents to a man's dollar, since the wages of non-mothers bring up the overall average.

Supporting facts:

-Countries with family-friendly policies in programs in place don't have as large of wage hits as we do.
- Men don't take wage hits after having children, women do.

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