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Who Needs More Women in Government? Dads.

June 17, 2010
As the first-time mother of an 8-month-old, I’m often concerned with making the world better for my daughter as she grows up. But every day, I also realize that I’m not in this struggle alone. Not only are there millions of moms out there trying to figure out how to balance work, a personal life, and a child (or three)— there are also millions of fathers that now have to face the same challenges. According to CAWP , Elected women are working to make the agenda of legislative institutions more reflective of women's concerns stemming from their roles as caregivers in the family and in society...

Survey: Who clips their nails?

June 15, 2010
Studies show today’s fathers are doing significantly more child care and housework than their fathers did. Here’s my question: Are these dads just folding more laundry, or are they also taking responsibility for the complicated logistics of family life? And here’s my other question: Do heterosexual couples divide up chores differently than gay and lesbian couples? A friend of mine, one of two moms raising a child together, suggested to me that straight couples might have something to learn from same-sex couples about egalitarian parenting. Is this true? So I put together a short survey to...
Katrina Alcorn's picture

Herd feelings

June 2, 2010
Working mothers are not crackheads. Having children is not just another lifestyle choice. If we want to keep this little human experiment going, then we need a sizable chunk of the population to keep having children.
Katrina Alcorn's picture

A mother of a day

May 11, 2010
I can't think of a better way to say this. I had a truly crappy Mother's Day this year. I think Anna Jarvis would understand. Inspired by her own mother's life, she started a campaign in 1907 to recognize mothers for their contribution to society. She was successful in making Mother's Day a national holiday, but then spent the rest of her life fighting its commercial exploitation. She died in an asylum when she was 84. A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then...
Katrina Alcorn's picture

Moms: We need more women in government!

May 7, 2010
As the Vice President and Political Director of the Women's Campaign Forum (WCF), I'm obviously a believer in electing more women to public office. However, as a first-time mother with a 7 month-old baby girl, my commitment to increasing women's political leadership has never been stronger. Sure, I knew before having my daughter that women legislators more often tackle issues affecting mothers, fathers, children, and families—but experiencing motherhood firsthand made me see many things through new eyes. As I traversed through the world of pre-natal care, maternity leave, daycare, and...

Holy Paid Family Leave, Batgirl!

April 13, 2010
"If we got even two calls from our constituents about this letter, that would make a huge impression on the Senator," a Senate staff person recently told us. She was referring to a letter circulating in the halls of the Senate that, if only a handful of Senators sign it, could have broad reaching and positive implications for the future of family leave programs in the U.S. Holy Paid Family Leave, Batgirl! Only two calls per Senator would make a difference!? Turns out your phone is more powerful than the batphone! Will you call your Senators' offices and ask them to sign on to this letter in...

Champion Real Workplace Flexibility

April 6, 2010
The White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility has generated an energetic buzz in work family advocacy circles across the nation. As a longtime advocate for family friendly workplaces, I am thrilled by First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama's keen interest and commitment to build and promote flexible workplaces. I also commend the many businesses that are genuinely trying to create workplaces that reflect the current needs of America's working families. But I am cautiously optimistic. For, I am also aware of the many "fake flex" policies that force workers to "flex" their lives...

Michelle Obama: "It doesn't have to be this way"

April 2, 2010
"Many folks don't have access to any kind of family leave policies whatsoever, no flexible working arrangements, many people don't even have a paid sick day. So they are struggling…scrambling to make things work…As we all know, here today, it just doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be that hard…" Sound familiar? No, it's not a quote from last week's email from MomsRising; it's First Lady Michelle Obama talking yesterday at a White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Yes! Brava! The policies that she lists in her speech are exactly what we all need to meet the demands of today's...

Unpaid parental leave - How are US families faring?

March 30, 2010
Parental leave with pay when a child is born or adopted is an important support for working families, yet most US private sector workers do not have this benefit. Human Rights Watch ( ), a nongovernmental human rights group, is interviewing parents in the US about their experiences with unpaid maternity and paternity leave, and the impact on their families. The interviews will be used for a report (using pseudonyms, not actual names of interviewees) and for making recommendations on US law and policy. HRW is seeking parents to interview by phone in the coming month. The interviews...
Janet Walsh's picture

EU: Don't Force Women to Stay Home!

March 12, 2010
The European Union Commission has proposed a new directive, to be voted on in March, that would make maternity leave compulsory for the first six weeks after a woman gives birth. You read that correctly -- compulsory. As in, women would be forced to stay home, regardless of their own wishes, if they have children. Beyond the obvious affront on personal free will, the problems with this proposal are so numerous and egregious it's making our heads spin. Firstly, Europe as a whole already suffers from low female labor participation rates; continent-wide, only six out of ten women work. This is a...