Friday, May 06, 2005

In honor of Mothers

This is a great article - and very timely with Mother's Day coming up on Sunday. I am a very blessed man - I am the son of maybe the greatest mom a boy could have, am married to the greatest wife a man could have, who is also the greatest mom our boy could have. I've had incredible women in my life - and I am much the person I am because of them.

Moms at the Office
by Martha Burk, Ph.D. for (excerpts)

Every year on Mother’s Day we stop to thank our moms with gifts and adoration. As individuals, we love our mothers dearly, but as a society we don’t give much of a flip for motherhood.

Close to three-quarters of all moms with children between the ages of 6 and 18 are in the labor force. ... Too much of corporate America is still operating on the “organization man” model, with the built-in assumption that someone else will take care of the kids and household so dad can work unlimited hours. It’s the same old mindset—men own the jobs, women own the kids.

When President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act in back in 1993, the United States lost the distinction of being one of the only two industrialized countries in the world without some form of leave for emergency care of sick children or elderly parents.

In purely economic terms, if someone has to miss work to care for a sick child, it’s going to be the lower earning parent—usually the mother. That further depresses her earnings and promotion potential, and further entrenches the inequality both at work and at home. And recent polls show the public believes employers don’t promote young women because they think these workers will leave their jobs to have children—but the vast majority do not.

Corporations claiming to favor fairness in the workplace should be glad to take an honest look at their pay practices and correct disparities. ... This kind of common-sense disclosure won’t bring down capitalism. Ben & Jerry’s does it every year, and they’re pretty successful, thank you.

Companies must not wait for Congress to mandate so-called “family-friendly” policies like paid leave, flextime and job sharing, either. They can do it themselves, and they can do it now. If fathers are encouraged to take advantage of these policies so that it becomes “normal” for both parents, mothers won’t be singled out as “less serious workers” and punished with lower pay or lack of opportunities for promotion. That would be a real gift for Mother’s Day.

This mother's day, let's be thankful for the moms in our lives; and let's commit ourselves to building an America where all their contributions are appreciated.

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