In a bold letter published as an ad by the Washington Post and sponsored by Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, 50 prominent men are calling on Congress to pass the Marshall Plan for Moms, which would send direct payments of $2,400 to mothers across America for their “unpaid labor at home.”
The letter advocates for Congress to pass a number of initiatives that millions of women have been asking for, including paid family leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity, as well as retaining programs to get women back in the workforce, and finally, to reopen schools, five days a week safely.
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Since the pandemic hit the United States, three million women have left the workforce.
Since women make up 50% of the American workforce, a three million person loss is a startling number. Many of those women are mothers who are taking on the brunt of the household work and homeschooling, because like it or not, women are the default caretakers.
The New York Times published a stark reminder about how women are expected to take on family obligations before men are. The Times showed that 85% of the parents surveyed about who is in charge of pandemic homeschooling are mothers – not fathers, despite fathers exaggerating the amount of help they provide.
The letter published by the Washington Post appears to understand this gender inequity and states,
“When more than 30 years of progress for women in the workforce can be erased in 9 months, the underlying system is broken.
It’s time to create a new structure that works for women, that respects and values their labor.”
While this letter from 50 prominent men might seem impressive, it comes on the heels of a similar letter published by the New York Times about a month ago by 50 equally prominent women who made the same demands.
The New York Times letter from women opens with, “You know this well: moms are the bedrock of society. And we’re tired of working for free. We need a Marshall Plan for Moms — Now.”
The women who wrote and signed this version have a bold challenge for the Biden Administration.
They write, “It’s time to put a dollar figure on our labor. Motherhood isn’t a favor and it’s not a luxury. It’s a job.”
Both letters have some impressive signatures including, actresses Alyssa Milano, Julianne Moore, and Eva Longoria.
The men’s letter includes Steph Curry from the NBA, Victor Cruz from the NFL and actors Don Cheadle and Colin Farrell, as well New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.
The Girls Who Code Instagram account showed a moving image of the Washington Post story along with some information for anyone who wants to add their name to the letter. It remains to be seen how the Biden Administration will respond.