Guest Blogger: A Letter to The Guys

Almost 20 years ago, I went out on a date with a guy who claimed to be a feminist. Still bruising from a bad breakup with my longtime girlfriend, I kind of scoffed and to be frank, was only planning on a one night stand…Men really aren’t my cup of tea. Well…here we are almost 20 years later, that feminist man and I are married, living in the burbs, raising two politically conscious sons, and working our asses of to make the world a just and equal place. I am thrilled to introduce my husband, Dan Miller, as today’s guest blogger.

He has written a stunning letter to “the guys” that is at once poignant, poetic, and real.

It is so well done that Dave Zirin, the Sports Editor at The Nation magazine, just read it on his weekly podcast Edge of Sports.

I think the letter speaks for itself, so without further ado, here it is:

October 30, 2017

Dear Guys,

The ravages of Toxic Masculinity are now on full display. So is an unprecedented level of fighting against it. We should be at the forefront of the fightback. There’s much work to do. I am the father of boys ages 11 and 7. This moment is pushing me to try and raise them into men who reject Toxic Masculinity. Not to mention motivation to overcome my own struggles with it.

But – to borrow a question that’s been floating around a lot lately – What Are We For? If we are against Toxic Masculinity, what type of masculinity are we after? Is that the right question? I don’t want to raise my boys only in opposition to something, but to strive for a vision of what it means to be a good person, and a good man.

If you’re like me and came up in the Jock Culture you might have had a father that taught you boys don’t cry or talk about their feelings, a coach that yelled at your team to take off your skirts and toughen up, friends who called you a sissy for taking piano lessons or a fag when you did something not considered “manly”. You may have been bullied and/or bullied others.

Even if you weren’t in the Jock Culture, this may have happened to you, or worse. Maybe you were physically or sexually abused. If you were, chances are overwhelming that it was another man who did it to you, if you get my point.

Maybe you endured some or all these things and were able to overcome them and grow into a man who doesn’t give a shit about traditional masculinity and are living your truth, to which I say: You Go!! Maybe you still harbor the pain and are subjecting others to it. Probably somewhere in between, if you’re like me.

There seems to be less bullying masculinity in my sons’ peer culture than there was in mine, a result of the success of the women’s and gay rights movements, I believe. But we’re still raising too many boys who become harassers and abusers, and too few who stand up to their peers to make harassment and abuse socially unacceptable. Lord knows I’ve failed to call it out more times than I’d like to admit. And it’s an emergency that’s harming the women we love.

I like to smoke cigars, watch football, lift weights, wrestle with my sons, drink beers with the guys and complain about our wives, and countless other “manly” activities. I also like to prance around the house in my underwear belting out show tunes. But these are just things I like to do.

Sometimes I lash out in anger when I’m actually feeling, shame, sadness, fear or hurt because vulnerability isn’t “manly”. Sometimes I interrupt women coworkers in meetings and get called out. But I do more housework in a week than I saw my dad do in a year, and I’ll bet you do too. I’m into how strong my wife is and want to support her in achieving her goals, and same with my buddies. I hug and kiss my sons every day and tell them I love them. I try to be in touch with my feelings and I’ve been to therapy to talk about them. Credit feminism for all that.

Is there anything positive to be salvaged from traditional masculinity? My dad may have modeled not crying, but he also taught me a man keeps his word and is always there for those who rely on him. He was accepting of his lesbian sister when I was growing up in the ‘80s. I learned by watching. He would also very rarely do silly ballet in his underwear, by the way.

Do we need to label traits and teachings masculine and feminine? Shouldn’t we go beyond that? Is No Masculinity the opposite of Toxic Masculinity? There’s nothing especially male about integrity or reliability for instance, but I’m a man so that’s part of how I understand it and watching my dad display these pro-social traits was important somehow.

Can I raise my boys to live their truth, spread love and positivity, solidarity and caring, and stand for justice?

Maybe one or both is queer. In that case they need to know their straight dad is proud of their courage to be who they are. But let’s assume they’re straight, as is most likely the case statistically speaking. Then they’ll be like me: straight, white, men.

I like who I am and I want them to like who they are. Maybe they’ll be straight men who don’t connect with traditional masculinity. I remember the lightbulb that went off at 12 years old when I would sneak to stay up late and watch SNL. The “Lyle the Effeminate Heterosexual” skit was the first time I realized that wanting to sleep with only women is what made you straight and nothing else. Watching it now might be cringe-inducing but then it was an important insight.

My hope is that my boys become men who are confident enough in their masculinity however they live it that they’re not threatened by the power of women, LGBTQ people, or people of color. That they learn from what the experiences of trans and genderqueer people teach us about gender. That they stand for love and caring, and against harassment and abuse. Not just that they don’t harass and abuse but they actively call it out. That they respect the women they are friends with and the women they sleep with. And that they have fun! Can we please remember not to forget about the fun when we talk about sex?!?!?!

What is that called? Healthy Masculinity? Positive Masculinity? Loving Masculinity? Humanity? What do you think? Someone may have already come up with a good phrase and definition and if so please share!

Dan Miller

Organizing Director

UNITE HERE Local 1​

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Sexual Harassment is an Epidemic that Can Be Stopped

Every year or so, the public is whipped into a frenzy as another powerful man is revealed to be a sexual predator. The media coverage tells story after story of how women were subject to sexual harassment, intimidation, innuendo, professional sabotage, and rape. These men – powerful in their industry – do not fit a single profile. In the 1990s we watched as Anita Hill called out then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and the democratic promise of President Bill Clinton was tarnished when adulterous affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky was uncovered. In recent years, US Representative Anthony Weiner got caught sexting and most recently, then-Republican candidate and now President Donald Trump was caught on tape revealing his own adventures in sexual harassment. In Hollywood, America’s favorite TV dad Bill Cosby fell from grace when it was disclosed that he drugged and raped women and now it turns out that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been at it for 30 years!

News flash – men sexually harass. Men in power. Men with no power. It happens everyday in the workplace and on campus. This is not news. The “me too” campaign can attest to this reality. And, while it is high time Harvey Weinstein is finally revealed as a sexual predator, the reality is that he will likely not fall too far. The many women that he and others have harassed are the ones who suffer the real injuries – emotional, financial, and physical.

According to the Equal Rights Advocates, a women’s law center based in the US, “90 to 95% of sexually harassed women suffer from some debilitating stress reaction, including anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep disorders, weight loss or gain, nausea, lowered self-esteem and sexual dysfunction. In addition, victims of sexual harassment lose $4.4 million dollars in wages and 973,000 hours in unpaid leave each year in the United States.”

While media outlets have an obligation to report the most recent sexual harassment scandal, they also have an obligation to investigate and report how women are fighting back.

Over the past year, Seattle and Chicago hotel workers have been fighting back. Last year, Seattle voters overwhelmingly passed Seattle Initiate 124, a referendum initiated by UNITE HERE Local 8, requiring all hotels to provide panic buttons to hotel housekeepers to alert their co-workers and guests when they are being sexually harassed on the job as well as a system to track and report guests who are sexual predators. And, earlier this month, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance that would also arm hotel housekeepers with panic buttons and protects hotel workers from retaliation when they report sexual violence by guests and requires hotels to implement an anti-sexual harassment policy.

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According to a study conducted by UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality union, “49% of housekeepers surveys have had guest(s) expose themselves, flash them, or answer the door naked. 65% of casino cocktail servers surveyed have has guests grope, pinch or grab them or try to touch them in an unwelcome way.” One housekeeper recalled, “I don’t feel safe because of the things that I have encountered. One guest was masturbating. I felt very afraid.”

“He was completely naked, standing between the bed and the desk. He asked me for shampoo. I had to jump over the beds in order to get to the door and leave the room.”

-Hotel Housekeeper

The sad fact is that soon the media frenzy will die down and our attention will be diverted to the next sensational story. But men will continue to sexually harassment women. And women will not stop being afraid to go to work.

We must pass enforceable legislation. Employers (who are overwhelmingly male) must create workplaces that reward women for reporting sexual harassment rather than punishing them. Fathers must educate their sons about healthy sexual relationships. Men must hold one another accountable rather than turning a blind eye.

What will it take for society to see this as the epidemic it truly is?

 

 

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The US Fails Asylum Seekers

4859This weekend my family and I had the privilege to meet an incredible family from Honduras.

It was also an eye-opening experience for me. I am more than a little ashamed to say that I did not realize the extent to which the United States is actively engaging in physical, mental, and legal aggression towards families and individuals seeking asylum in our country.

I met Judy Ancel back in 1999 when we were both working on a campaign to boycott Hallmark Company (you know, the gift card people) to put pressure on the Duro Company that was making gift bags in Central America. We were both organizing support from US consumers and Judy, along with her organization – the Cross-Border Network for Justice & Solidarity, were uniquely positioned in Kansas City – the home of the Hallmark headquarters. It was a fun campaign. It would be another ten years before we reconnected again through our mutual work as labor educators. Since then, we have worked closely to build leadership among women in the US and Central America.

This fall Judy took in a Honduran family. Yolany and her four children ranging in age from 5 to 13 – are seeking political asylum in the United States for their activism in the environmental organization Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or more commonly referred to as COPINH. Last spring COPINH was in the international news when Berta Caceres, a feminist environmental leader in Honduras and a leader in COPINH, was shot dead in her own home.  Caceres and other Hondurans are only too aware of the risks they are taking to their lives as the increasing struggles over land throughout Central America involved gangland-style hits on individuals and families defending their land rights. A study released in June 2016  by Global Witness reports that in 2015 alone 185 people were killed as a result of their environmental activism. Honduras is a well-known hot spot.

Only 12 days after the brutal murder of Caceres, Yolany and two of her children witnessed the assassination of her husband Nelson in front of their home in a rural Honduran village. Since then, Yolany and her four children have been on the run after receiving death threats of their own and against other members of her extended family. Mortgaging her home and borrowing money from family and friends, Yolany was able to scrap together enough money to hire a man to take her and her four children to the US/Mexico border. The trip was harrowing and involved a 17 hour ride with 30 others in the back of tractor-trailer truck, taking boats across the Guatemalan-Mexican border, and bribing the Mexican police to keep from being returned to Honduras. When Yolany and her children arrived at the Rio Grande, they used inner-tubes to safely cross the river at which point Yolany promptly reported to ICE and requested political asylum. Her harrowing adventure was just about to get much worse.

Yolany is not naïve. She did not expect to be welcomed with open arms. She was well-aware that the border officials would not make it easy for her to come into the United States. She repeatedly explained to the border patrol agents and ICE staff why she left behind her small business, home, and family to seek a new life in a country she had never been to and where she only knew one person. The result…Along with her children, she was sent to the ICE Box. A detention cell that is kept at what felt like 50 degrees all day and where she and her children stayed for five days. They were fed a sandwich and glass of milk twice a day and provided with no water during their stay in the ICE Box. After this they were separated from another – mother from children, sisters and brothers – and held in cells with no end in sight. Yolany repeatedly explained that she would be able to stay with her friend in Missouri and that she was willing to go through the asylum process, but the process dragged on. Finally, ICE approved her temporary stay in the US, but first she was told she must wear an ankle bracelet at all times like a criminal under house arrest. The device digs into her ankle and causes her physical pain and humiliation.

Judy brought Yolany and her children to Chicago this past weekend because they had a meeting at the Honduran Consulate. They stayed at my home in Skokie – a quiet suburb north of Chicago. A suburb that became home to Jewish refugees after World War II seeking a new life away from the horrors of Nazism. A community that has welcomed refugees from around the world especially the Middle East over the past decade. A community that embraces diversity of all kinds.

We spent the day at the Lincoln Park Zoo and my two sons and Yolany’s kids all played in our basement family room. Despite the language barrier they were becoming fast friends by the end of the weekend. To all the people who saw us traipsing through the zoo, no one could have guessed that these smiling children had already lived a life more dangerous and complicated that most in the US will ever experience. I welcomed them into our home because that is the kind of home that my husband and I want to have – a refuge, a place where everyone feels welcome and loved. But it was more than that for me. As a teenage, I too lost my father to gun violence as retribution for his work. I did not speak of this to the family, I wanted them to have a simple and loving visit. The kind of day where for just a moment you can almost feel “normal.”
Please consider donating to the Cross-Border Network for Justice & Solidarity.

 

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#forget_about_meat – The Egyptian Meat Boycott – A Transnational Perspective

egypt meat boycott

In 1973, groups of housewives in major American cities mounted the last comprehensive price campaign against the high cost of living in the United States. Calling on consumers and government agencies to boycott meat, these grassroots activists used meat as a symbol for a troubled economy. Wages were stagnate and grocery carts were emptier as shoppers were forced to change their family’s diets in order to balance their checkbook.

Over the past few weeks Egyptians have taken up a similar campaign – the “forget about meat” campaign is picking up steam. In provinces across Egypt, consumers are forgoing beef and calling on beef producers to drop their prices. Atef Yacoub, the head of Egypt’s Consumer Protection Agency spoke in support of the boycott urging citizens to “buy other alternatives rich in protein including chicken and fish.” With the upcoming celebration of Eid al-Adha, one of two important Muslim religious celebrations, the boycott is particularly significant. A holiday typically celebrated by the consumption and sharing of meat – most commonly, beef – the boycott has the potential to impact the industry’s profit margin. Some in the beef industry are dismissing the beef boycott as “worthless” and blame the high prices on a shortage in meat production rather than an effort to inflate the industry’s profits. This message evokes the statements by the American beef industry during the 1973 (and earlier) meat boycotts.

1973 meat boycott Time

Yet, in an age of social media, the boycott’s messages are quickly circulating throughout Egypt and the globe. The 6 April Youth Movement, which has more than 900,000 Twitter followers, also came out in support of the boycott using the hashtag that translates as #forget_about_meat. In the last few days, a Facebook page was launched that includes photos of the boycott committee meeting in the southern city of Aswan where the boycott began. Based on translations provided by Facebook, the messages on the page support the media coverage that highlight the strain that high prices have had on Egypt’s poor and in many ways the campaign is both an attack on high prices as well as a solidarity campaign against income inequality. For example, Kamilia Shazly, a mother of three children wrote, commented that the slight rise in her monthly wage is not to be compared with the recent increase in prices of basic commodities including meat. In the central city of Minya, the campaign against the high cost of meat is titled, “All of us are poor.”

Historically, the national attention meat boycotts draw do force butchers to lower their prices as well as force the industry to respond. But the economic gain and public influence is often short lived. The more important take away from consumer campaigns like a meat boycott is the impact of collective action on communities and a nation. In 1969, Long Island housewives launched a meat boycott that was in large part to support poorer families. The boycott grew quickly and gained national attention the old-fashioned way – newspapers, TV, and radio interviews. The boycotts also directly contributed the many activist housewives finding their public voice. This was a critical last element of the boycotts.

Given the social media resources we have today, the important messages about income inequality and access to fresh food for our families that are generated by the current meat boycott in Egypt have the potential to resonate beyond the borders of Egypt and back into the households of the US for the first time in many years. It also has the potential to help another set of new activists to find their voices in a most unexpected place – the meat market.

By: Emily E. LB. Twarog, PhD

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Spinning an Anti-Feminist Agenda using a Feminist Icon

Anyone heard of The Alice Paul Group?

It is one of the cleverest and scariest re-appropriations of feminism I have seen.

Don’t get me wrong. Alice Paul had some problems. Her dogged one-issue focus on the Equal Rights Amendment was classic essentialism. Paul advocated for a segregated suffrage march in 1913 refusing to walk with anti-lynching activist and journalist Ida B. Wells and March Church Terrell of the National Association of Colored Women. In the end, Paul lost her campaign for a segregated march after telegrams and protests poured into her office. Ida B. Wells marched with the Illinois delegation. She refused to work in collaboration with working-class women and labor unions in the 1940s to pass the Women’s Status Bill that was a slightly amended version of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her unrelenting focus on gender is a study in how middle-class white women were often unwilling to confront their own racism and classism. Yet, she is undeniably, synonymous with feminism.

But in the case of the Alice Paul Group, her name as a familiar feminism moniker, is being used to promote a pro-life/anti-choice agenda by the Christian right…

Their website opens with a note on human rights: “Founded in 2014, Alice Paul Group is an exclusive creative strategic grassroots and social media-consulting firm that focuses on new, innovative ways to advocate for Human Rights.”

Sounds good, right? But then goes on to say, “We offer a wide range of services to help you advocate on behalf of your cause. We are first and foremost committed to causes that advocate for the dignity of mankind…”

Mankind???? I think Alice Paul would choke on her crumpet if she knew that her name and work were being so misrepresented.

It did make me wonder who “owns” Paul’s name and legacy?

Did someone in her family sanction the use of her name?

The bottom line is that the Alice Paul Group is not what I hoped it was – a group dedicated to getting the message out about feminism and gender equality. Nope. It is a straight up pro-life group fighting “for the rights of the unborn…” and mankind. No womankind in sight…

Talk about brilliant anti-feminist spin.

Thoughts?

By: Emily E. LB. Twarog, PhD

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How Far We Haven’t Come…

Normally, to be frank, I wouldn’t care who was appointed head of the BBC. And, of course, I am pleased to see a woman moving into the healm of a major news outlet, my general interest and alliances tend to lie with working-class women struggling to make ends meet. But I just couldn’t pass this one up….

Earlier this month, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper trumpeted Rona Fairhead’s new position with this gem of a headline… “Mother of three poised to lead the BBC.” Really?!

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Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post has already done a great job offering up comparable headlines for newly appointed men…See her article here so I won’t waste your time or mine trying make up jazzy headlines.

What really went through my head was: “Good grief!” How have we advanced so little that what we continually hear when a “woman of note” scores big we also learn about her family size? In fact, of the few women who head major companies, I could probably tell you which one of them is a mother along with the ages and sex of their children. Can I say that for the many, many men in comparable positions? Nope.

I am getting ready to teach my spring class on gender, race, and class in the workplace and I always kind of moan (to myself) about teaching the portion of the syllabus that deals with white collar work or corporate America. But then I remind myself that many of my students hope to be on the other side of the class ceiling one day so I should take the time and put my best foot forward. Maybe next semester I will have them put together a project on newspaper coverage of corporate hires of women…

What would we see? My guess is more of the same.

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Superbaby Ranch vs. Kindercare: No Easy Answers for Working Women and Childcare

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Note: I am pleased share this blog post (and hopefully many more) by guest blogger Nora Gruenberg.

Decisions, Decisions

Ah, the joys of being a mom. It really does take a village. It takes villagers to ask fecund ladies of scant acquaintance, “So … when are you going to have kids?” or “When are you due?” It takes villagers to brazenly ask, “Are you breastfeeding?” or “Does your wee dumpling sleep through the night?” It also takes villagers to ask, “Are you going back to work?” and “Who’s going to watch La Principessa?”

A wealth of choices is a luxury – one that can muddy the waters when a woman has to find that hair’s-breadth balance between doing right by her family, her community and herself.

Back in 2003, Lisa Belkin wrote a New York Times cover story about well-heeled women downshifting on the career fast track, swapping out their professional status to become stay-at-home moms. They were empowered to make that choice and this exodus of professional women into the domestic sphere coined the phrase, The Opt Out Revolution.

Did I detect a hint of Schadenfreude when, a decade later, Judith Warner reported back from the front lines that the revolutionaries either wanted or needed to opt back into the professional world? Due to financial, marital or a thousand small personal collapses, these women found themselves in a position where they still had plenty of choices but the stakes were much higher. They, like the vast majority of their American sisters, simply couldn’t afford to not work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 70% of moms with kids under age 18 were either employed or actively seeking work in 2013. It seems that a large number of women have opted back in, all right.

The whole Opt Out/Opt Back In scenario presents a dramatic narrative for the kinds of tension and tightrope walking women from all backgrounds face daily. While I think it goes without saying that most of us aren’t inspiring New York Times cover stories with our ordinary lives, when you strip away the upper-crust neighborhoods and Ivy League educations from the women featured in the stories, there are universal themes, questions that drive modern women in trying to find that elusive state where satisfying the wants, needs and expectations the outside world and our own allow us to sleep just a little better at night.

 

Huge Costs of Childcare – Beyond the Dollar Amount

Whether a woman maintains employment while raising kids or attempts to return to the work force, one thing we have in common is grappling with securing childcare. The Child Welfare League of America estimates that more than 10 million children under the age of 6 are in child care of some stripe. While some are able to count on relatives to help to shoulder childcare, almost a quarter of families count on center-based options.

The CWLA also notes that publicly funded programs intended to deliver beneficial non-parental care, like Head Start or Early Start, only reach about 40% of eligible participants. “In most states, families with annual incomes of $25,000 do not qualify for assistance with child care expenses” the piece states. “The shortage of government assistance funds to qualifying families is so great that at least one-third of states place eligible families on waiting lists.”

With reports of family income spent on childcare reaching as high as 22%, and averages hovering around 10%, imagine the sleepless nights moms spend debating whether it’s worth the expense and then considering the fact that they can at least squeeze a few pairs of shoes, school fees or bags of groceries out of their take-home pay. Then she flips her pillow to the cool side to spin her brain some more, factoring in the quality of child care facilities available within her budget.

This piece also frames horror stories we all hear about day care centers gone wrong, with negligence on one side of the spectrum to full-on abuse on the other.

“Poor conditions and low skill standards for child care workers are part of the problem,” says the report. “Child care workers earn an average annual salary of $17,610, making it a high turnover industry where trained professionals cannot afford to stay. In 30 states, prior training is not required for teaching in child care centers.”

So … a poorly-trained and ill-paid labor force creates a less than nurturing environment for children yet may be the only option for families, especially those with limited financial resources. Sounds like a cycle spinning round and round right down society’s drain to me. What is the answer? I don’t know, but as I prod deep into the recesses of my rich imaginal world, I have a few ideas.

 

Superbaby Ranch

Grassroots organizing and community efforts have effected great societal change in the past so why not now? Why not create a positive social matrix to provide support for families that nurtures our most vulnerable and valuable assets – our kids?

My sister and I used to create all manner of crazy scenarios. Who am I kidding? We still do. But way back in time before we were parents, we talked about how cool it would be to create a place where we all took care of each other’s kids. It was less commune and more, well, Superbaby Ranch, a wonderous compound where free-range children could explore and adventure under the general guidance of the older and wiser.

This is no place for the helicopter parent, it’s a place for hands-on learning and play, a place where little dudes earn their keep by pitching in, doing chores that suit their ages and abilities and then running off to, I don’t know, use their imaginations, develop personal skills and physical fitness by engaging in the great outdoors. The Superbaby Ranch is a place for kids to be self-sufficient yet social, learning to figuring out things by themselves while being able to trust their peers and elders to look out for them.

In this Superbaby Ranch, there would be rotating personnel, offering participants 24/7 access. If you’re part of the collective and you get called into work during the third shift, no worries. Just bring your little dude in his or her footie jammies and we’ll clear out a bunk. Come morning time, it’s breakfast, chores and play or school. We’ll get that little dude on the Superbaby Bus and bring ‘em to school. Get along, little dogies. 

Are there people who would actually want to run this Superbaby Ranch? I imagine it would take a certain kind of person who would have the inclination, patience and humor to be part of such a project. I doubt someone who’s making less than $20,000 a year with no training to take care of too many kids in a poorly-equipped facility would want to, but maybe someone who has an interest in early childhood development, who earned a living wage, received great training and was part of a thriving movement, might consider it a viable career option. That would be great. But really, it’s a vision to bring together all kinds of families who want to ensure great care for their kids while participating in the system, too, whether financially or through bartering their own time and resources.

Hey, this is my Utopian fantasy. I’ll freestyle if I want to. 

The Childcare Conundrum

The fact is, childcare is a huge problem in this country with no solution in sight. With such a preponderance of moms in the labor force and such a dearth of support, it’s indicative of the low priority working women command in our society. With so many moms unable to afford childcare yet unable to afford to stay home, it’s a symptom of our unbalanced system. The New York Times pipes in once again, reporting that:

“Child care assistance is a start, but it is not widely available enough to make a difference for most families. Subsidies are available only for low-income families and are scarce and sporadic even for them. Only about 30 percent of low-income families using center-based child care, and 16 percent using an in-home care center for a child under the age of six, receive subsidies. The percentage of middle-income families receiving subsidies is negligible—about 3 percent for an in-home care center. Since additional funds to states from the stimulus through the Child Care and Development Block Grant have expired, families who are eligible for assistance may not receive it. In 2011, 22 states had waiting lists to receive child-care assistance, and only one in seven children eligible for direct child care assistance receives it.

There are federal tax policies that tend to benefit middle-income and professional-managerial families. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit benefits higher-income workers and families because it is only available to families where parents—both parents if it is a married couple—have earnings or are in school. It provides a nonrefundable federal tax credit of up to $3,000 for one dependent or up to $6,000 for two or more dependents. Because it is nonrefundable, however, low-income families who do not owe taxes do not receive the credit.” 

In a country where large corporations stash billions off-shore and still receive tax breaks, regular working people who drive the faltering middle class are punished for attempting financial independence. Why wouldn’t the government reward families for being productive? Why wouldn’t lawmakers want to guarantee the future prosperity of our country? Why do we want hard working people to struggle more for less return? What exactly is it that we’re struggling toward?

A couple of acres, a compound and a team of smart people could really make a go of this Superbaby Ranch. Kiss my grits, KinderCare – there’s a new sheriff in town.

 

Nora Gruenberg is a writer and co-founder of Mom4Hire, a career development agency that specializes in helping stay-at-home moms transition back into the workplace. She takes a special interest in women’s socioeconomic issues and also works with the Society of Helpers, an international congregation of women religious who work in various areas of social justice. 

 

 

 

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