Thursday, May 10th, 2012
An annual report from the non-profit organization Save the Children has ranked the United States 25th in the world in how the country cares for and supports mothers. The rankings are based on measures of everything from medical care to maternity leave. CNN.com has more:
That puts the U.S. right between Belarus and the Czech Republic. Norway is No. 1, just ahead of Iceland and Sweden.
The report’s ranking of 165 nations factors in measures of education, health and economic status as well as the health and nutrition of children.
“There’s still an awful lot that we need to do,” said Carolyn Miles, the president of Save The Children.
The U.S. has made strides with respect to better care for teen moms and also in electing more women to government positions, which the organization sees as an important measure of how society values women.
But it has to do more, Miles and others stress.
“We valorize parenthood and in particular, motherhood, while at the same time we offer very few supports,” said Robin Simon, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University.
So while the U.S. recognizes mothers for their incredibly important role as the primary caregivers to children, it still hasn’t done enough to help raise the kids.
It’s no secret: Raising a child is stressful and really expensive. A new mother needs a lot of help, Simon said, and other countries provide more government assistance than the United States does.
“Unlike other industrialized nations, we lack the kind of state-level protections and policies that would reduce some of that stress,” she said, speaking of “family-friendly entitlement programs” like universal health care.
Image: Mother and child, via Shutterstock.
Friday, November 11th, 2011
A new report based on census data found that 51 percent of working women who had their first child between 2006 and 2008 received some sort of paid leave (maternity, sick, or vacation) from their employers. This number was up from previous data, with only 42 percent of women receiving similar paid leave between 1996 and 2000.
The report, Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers, 1961-2008, uses census data to follow trends in women’s work experience before and after they have children. Key findings from the report include:
- Women are more likely to work while pregnant than they did in the 1960s. Two-thirds (66 percent) of women who had their first birth between 2006 and 2008 worked during pregnancy, compared with 44 percent who had their first birth between 1961 and 1965.
- Eight out of 10 (82 percent) working women who had their first birth between 2006 and 2008 worked within one month of their child’s birth compared with 73 percent of working women who gave birth to their first child between 1991 and 1995.
- Older mothers are more likely than younger mothers to work closer to the end of their pregnancies. Sixty-seven percent of mothers 22 and older worked into the last month of their pregnancy, compared with 56 percent of mothers less than age 22.
- Four out of 10 (42 percent) women received unpaid maternity leave. Both paid and unpaid maternity leave were more likely to be used after birth than before.
- Twenty-two percent of first time mothers quit their jobs – 16 percent while they were pregnant and another 6 percent by 12 weeks after their child’s birth.
- Women who worked during their pregnancy are more likely to return to work within three to five months compared with women who did not work before the birth of their first child.
- Eight out of 10 mothers who worked during their pregnancy returned to work within a year of their child’s birth to the same employer. About seven out of 10 of these women returned to a job at the same pay, skill level and hours worked per week.
- Two out of 10 mothers switched employers when returning to work. These mothers experienced greater job changes compared with mothers who returned to the same employer. One out of four was employed at a new job that had comparable pay, skill level and hours worked.
(image via: http://blogs.babycenter.com/)
Friday, September 9th, 2011
A woman is suing her employer because the company refused to grant her maternity leave when her twins were born through a surrogate.
Kara Krill of Long Island, New York, is suing for breach of contract and discrimination on the basis of her disability. After her first child was born in 2007, Krill was diagnosed with Asherman’s Syndrome, a condition that can cause scar tissue in the uterus and prevent a woman from carrying a pregnancy. In order to have more children, Krill and her husband used a surrogate, who carried and gave birth to twins.
Krill’s company, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, gave her 13 weeks of paid maternity leave when her first child was born. But because she was not carrying and giving birth to the twins herself, Cubist would only grant five days of leave, the amount they give parents who adopt.
Krill’s complaint argues that since she and her husband are the biological parents of their children — the couple had obtained a prebirth order, signed by a judge, confirming the “legal and genetic parentage of Krill’s twins without having to institute adoption proceedings” — she should be given the same paid maternity leave benefits as every other biological mother in the company. Were it not for her disability, she would be receiving paid maternity leave, Krill argues.
The article continues:
[W]hat is the real reason for granting maternity leave?
If maternity leave is offered so that women can recover from what is, at best, the incredibly messy and strenuous business of giving birth, then new mothers like Krill who use surrogates would not really deserve paid leave, since they are not doing the hard yards of labor and delivery.
But paid maternity leave could also be regarded the same way as paid leave for jury duty — something a company does out of civic responsibility. Supporting new mothers as they bond with their children, learn to care for them and give them a good start is beneficial for society and for the survival of the species.
Readers, what do you think? Should women who use a surrogate get maternity leave?
(image via: http://healthinformationworld.com)
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
The Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC), the nation’s largest mortgage insurance company, is facing a Justice Department law suit because of the company’s requirement that women return from paid maternity leave before mortgages will be approved and insured. The case refers to loan customers who are seeking to borrow more than 80 percent of their home’s value, a situation in which most mortgage lenders require mortgage insurance.
The suit was filed in Pennsylvania on July 5. It falls under the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing and mortgage lending based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status.
“No woman should be denied the opportunity to receive a mortgage loan simply because she has just given birth,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement.. “Our nation’s fair housing laws prohibit this kind of discrimination, and the Justice Department is committed to aggressive enforcement of those laws.”
“It defies belief that, in 2011, any institution would discriminate against a mother for legally and properly taking leave after the birth of a child,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton. “My office will not stand idly by while parents suffer discrimination in lending simply for taking maternity or paternity leave.”