America Leads Developed World in Treating Working Moms Like Crap By Terrell Jermaine Starr

Laura Browder is the latest example of how harsh America can be on working mothers. When an employer called [3] the Houston mother of two to meet up for a job interview, she didn’t have time to line up childcare. Browder ended up taking her 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter with her to the interview location, a local mall, where she kept an eye on her kids from 30 feet away.

Moments after she landed the gig, a cop arrested Browder for child abandonment. Though she was later released, the arrest was an unfriendly reminder of the tough calls moms often have to make.

“Mothers constantly have to do mental cost-benefit analysis like this,” Stacia L. Brown, founder of the blog Beyond Baby Momas [4], told AlterNet. “We bear the brunt of chastisement when we make tough calls like Browder did, but we can only be in one place at a time. According to her account, the children were within her line of vision the whole time they were seated in the food court. The alternative to not bringing her children to the mall so that she could interview would have been losing an opportunity to secure a livable wage for her family.”

Though Browder’s arrest was a daycare issue, it is part of a larger problem. Women make up nearly 50 percent [5] of America’s workforce and 40 percent of household breadwinners, yet they have few of the protections mothers in other rich countries enjoy. America is the only country [6] in the developed world that doesn’t offer guaranteed paid paternity or maternity leave to workers. Only 12 percent of U.S. workers reportedly have such coverage, but it is usually a benefit provided through employer insurance.

At least seven in 10 mothers with children younger than 18 were in the workforce in 2012, according [7] to the Pew Research Center. Yet, America is quite hostile toward its working mothers. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director [8], says part of the problem is that most policymakers can’t relate to the issues moms face. More than 80 percent [9] of the 114th Congress is male, a figure Rowe-Finkbeiner says explains why lawmakers don’t see childcare access as an urgent issue.

“Often, childcare has been thought of as a woman’s individual problem,” she told AlterNet. “If one person can’t make it happen, then it’s her fault. We have a structural issue with childcare we have to solve together and not an epidemic of personal failing.”

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