Mom doesn't want flowers for Mother's Day. She wants benefits that women around the world take for granted, according to Sharon Lerner.
Lerner, author of the new book "The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation" (Wiley, $25.95), told WalletPop five of the worst ways American mothers are getting hurt financially.
1. Lack of part-time work options. "Without them, many women get shunted into working too much or not at all," said Lerner, a married mother of 2- and 4-year-old boys. "Sixty percent of women who work full-time would prefer part-time jobs." Because there are no laws forcing employers to curtail schedules for parents, most mothers end up working full-time or staying at home. What little part-time work is available often would not cover childcare costs anyway, the author explained. And some of that work is fraudulent. Among online enterprises promising at-home income, Lerner estimated that for every legitimate offer, there are 57 scams.
2. National policy for paid maternity leave. "We don't have it," Lerner said. Because of that, only 42% of working women can take off 12 weeks or more. Meanwhile, Djibouti, an impoverished, drought-stricken African nation, offers 14 weeks paid, Lerner said.
3. Lack of subsidized childcare. "Daycare often costs more than public college," Lerner said. But that's not all. In many parts of the country, families spend more on childcare than rent, mortgage, food or transportation, she added. If you're thinking that there are avenues for poor women, the writer suggests you think again. Just 1 in 7 actually receives a government subsidy, and that still leaves a gaping hole for middle-class families.
4. Daycare paradox. Many low-income women put their kids in daycare so the women can work in a daycare -- for a mere net gain that can be just $150 a month. "The cost is more than financial," she explained. "These women would rather be teaching their own children how to walk and drink from cups."
5. Health insurance for pregnant women. Until the new healthcare law kicks in, pregnant women shopping for coverage on their own are out of luck. Now companies deny an expectant woman coverage because they consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition. "Women are desperate to get health insurance because they're going to have a child, but they can't get it for the very reason that they're going to have a child."
Have a happy Mother's Day -- if you can.
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