How can we say we're for family values when so many women in the United States have to jeopardize their livelihood to take a few weeks off from work after giving birth? Should a man have to sacrifice his economic security to take care of his sick mother or his wife returning wounded from active duty?
This month California is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which has helped more than 1.5 million parents. But despite the track record, too few parents are taking advantage of the program, and those parents who may need it most are least likely to sign up.
We need a living wage so workers can be effective on the job and at home. We need to close the wage gap so working women and minorities aren't discriminated against and have more money to spend as consumers. And we need paid sick days, which are not only morally right, but are sound fiscal and business policy.
Let's celebrate with the same spirit as the women whose activism sparked the holiday in the first place. Let's celebrate by taking action. Support the women around us. Fight for family-focused public policy. Lift up women in office who are writing these policies, and elect more women like them. A card is nice. Change is better.
The shifts in our economy have shown how easy it is to fall into poverty, and how hard it is to climb out. There is no upside to the fraying of the social safety net, no matter how some policymakers attempt to defend it. The consequences can be disastrous for families, disruptive to communities and a drain on the economy.