News / USA

US Working Mothers Struggle Daily to Balance Family, Career

US Working Mothers Struggle Daily to Balance Family and Careeri
X
May 10, 2013 10:32 PM
A growing number of mothers in the United States are joining the workforce, from fewer than 50 percent in the 1970s to close to 75 percent today. And while U.S. labor policies in support of working mothers have come a long way, VOA's Julie Taboh reports they have not caught up to the realities of women who struggle daily to balance family and career.

US Working Mothers Struggle Daily to Balance Family and Career

A growing number of mothers in the United States are joining the workforce, from fewer than 50 percent in the 1970s to close to 75 percent today. And while U.S. labor policies in support of working mothers have come a long way, analysts say they have not caught up to the realities of women who struggle daily to balance family and career.
 

Alison Barnes is getting her kids fed and ready for school as she gets ready to leave for her job.


This busy mother of three says she has been trying hard to juggle the needs of her family with her work.


"Since I became a mom eight years ago I’ve definitely had periods where I’ve been able to achieve good balance and other times when that’s been elusive,"

Barnes said.


Barnes is a partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm. That position gives her some flexibility in her job. She’s been able to take long maternity leaves and work just four days a week.


"I have Fridays with my children, and that’s been very important and helped me feel like I have really achieved some sense of balance," Barnes said.


Barnes is among the more fortunate women who have those options available to them, says Vicki Shabo. She is the director of work and family programs at the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington.


"White collar workers, high-paid workers, professional workers have more flexibility than they used to. Telecommuting and policies that allow people to do work from home every once in a while or to set their own hours are increasing," Shabo said.


"For most of the women in this country, they don’t have choices about when they work or where they work or how much they’re working. They don’t have access to high quality childcare. They don’t have access to sick days, and they certainly don’t have access to paid parental leave or paid leave to take care of an ill family member," Shabo said.


And then says Shabo, there’s the issue of maternity leave, which is one of the biggest concerns for working moms.


"We are one of the few countries in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave to new moms and one of a slightly larger number that doesn’t offer paid leave to new dads," Shabo said.


"Our key workplace policy is the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act which provides 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to new parents and to people who need to deal with their own serious health conditions or care for an ill child or spouse," Shabo said.


But that, says Shabo, is only a start.


"My greatest hope is that we implement a national paid family and medical leave insurance program to bring ourselves up to the level of the rest of the world," Shabo said.


No matter what their job, working mothers want what all caring parents want: a society that recognizes the value of happy, healthy children.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid