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The Motherhood ManifestoDocumentary

Order The Motherhood Manifesto documentary film online

About The Motherhood Manifesto

Did You Know...

  • Only four countries in the world—Lesotho, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and the United States fail to provide paid maternity leave to all workers?
  • Mothers in the United States are only half as likely as non-mothers to be hired for the same job and the average college graduate who becomes a mother will sacrifice a million dollars over her lifetime?
  • Businesses that create flexible work environments find that productivity goes up, they attract more talent, turnover is reduced and their bottom line is improved?

Startling facts are presented in a powerful and engaging new one-hour documentary, THE MOTHERHOOD MANIFESTO--a film by Laura Pacheco and John de Graaf.

The film brings to the screen many of the characters, experts and stories from the new book by the same name, written by Joan Blades, co-founder of and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. Blades and Rowe-Finkbeiner are also the founders of

Moving personal stories combined with humorous animation, expert commentary and hilarious old film clips tell the tale of what happens to working mothers and families in America and how enlightened employers and public policy can make paid family leave, flexible working hours, part-time parity, universal healthcare, excellent childcare, after-school programs and realistic living wages a reality for American families.

THE MOTHERHOOD MANIFESTO travels from Washington State to Washington DC, from Oakland to Denver to Indianapolis and Chicago, from small-town Vermont and Pennsylvania to big city New York, to introduce viewers to people like:

  • Kiki Peppard, a Pennsylvania mother who has been battling discrimination against moms for the past decade.
  • Selena Allen, who had to return to work four days after she gave birth prematurely.
  • Sharon Dorsett, whose son’s illness bankrupted her family even though the Dorsett’s had health insurance.
  • Jim Johnson, a conservative Republican businessman who found that flexible hours and family-friendly policies can increase a company’s profits and success.
  • Joya Chavarin, who knows what California’s new paid family leave law means to mothers.
  • Republican pollster Frank Luntz who says that “lack of free time” is the most important issue for women with children.
  • Dr. Deborah Richter, who has seen patients die because they didn’t have health insurance.
  • Democratic Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, a former welfare mother who works tirelessly to help working mothers.
  • Angenita Tanner, a childcare provider who takes in children from families too poor to afford childcare.
  • And Bev Betters, a hilarious animated character whose advice to working moms always seems to backfire.

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen, THE MOTHERHOOD MANIFESTO shows dramatically just how far behind all other industrial countries the United States lags in its support for families. Prominent experts including Karen Kornbluh, Joan Williams, Janet Gornick, Jody Heymann and NOW’s Kim Gandy make the case that America can do much better.

THE MOTHERHOOD MANIFESTO was produced by longtime PBS veteran John de Graaf (“AFFLUENZA”) and NOVA producer/director Laura Pacheco and photographed by five-time Emmy winner Diana Wilmar. Executive Producer: Joan Blades.

Watch Clips

See a hilarious animated clip of Bev Betters! It’s edgy, irreverent, fun, & part of the documentary film.

Watch a trailer of the film.

Testimonials About the Film

"The Motherhood Manifesto documentary is a funny, fascinating, informative, and finally infuriating film about motherhood in America. At the end of this one, you'll want to jump out of your seat, rush out the door, and start demanding change immediately!"

-- Ann Crittenden, author, The Price of Motherhood

"Beautifully shot, incredible, well researched content. It had me laughing, crying, mad, sad but most of all MOTIVATED."

-- Cooper Munroe, business owner

"It is very difficult to fit work and family issues into any kind of television or movie format, but this movie does it, and does it well. The stories range from heartbreaking (the parents of a special needs child), to angry (e.g., some new mothers from the Czech Republic who are appalled to discover we have no paid parental leave), to enormously insightful (e.g., Kiki Peppard's efforts to get Pennsylvania to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against parents in hiring). These stories are broken up by wonderful cartoon sketches, old clips from tv and movies, and interviews with leading experts. Great work, and a movie that everyone should see!"

-- Professor Robert Drago, Penn State Univ.