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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More