On Mother's Day, we buy flowers and cards to show our mothers how much we care. But there are other ways we can value the mothers in our lives. Here are three messages you probably won't find in any greeting cards but would mean a lot to working moms.
1. You make great sacrifices every day to nurture your loved ones and provide
economic security for your family, so you should never have to choose between the job you need and the family you love.
Women lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime due to taking time off, unpaid, to care for children and other family members. Paid family and medical leave policies can help working mothers take time off for caregiving responsibilities and their own medical needs. Yet today in the United States, working women are only guaranteed unpaid leave without being fired when they need time off for these important reasons.
2. As a provider and role model for your family, your hard work is measurable, and you should be compensated fairly for it.
Today, women earn just 78 percent of what men earn. Being paid equally for equal work is especially critical when you consider that women are the primary breadwinners in 41 percent of families and co-breadwinners in another 23 percent. Studies also have shown that motherhood is associated with a wage penalty and lower future career earnings. Women need both access to higher wage jobs as well as higher minimum wages in order to support their families.
3. You always put your needs before others, taking care of yourself last, but taking care of your own health should be a priority.
Seventy percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 participate in the labor force. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, being a mom is no longer considered a pre-existing condition. More mothers now have access to a range of quality, affordable health care accommodations for themselves and their children. And all marketplace plans must cover maternity and newborn care.
Policies for working mothers − including paid leave, equal pay, access to nontraditional jobs − are the cornerstone of women's economic security. Join us in honoring working moms, and all women, year-round as we continue to push for the policies that will make their lives better. Learn more at www.dol.gov/WB.
Latifa Lyles is the director of the department's Women's Bureau.