Working moms look to Michelle Obama for change | U.S. | Reuters
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Maternity leave. Affordable child-care. Flexible work arrangements. When first lady Michelle Obama said she wanted to help working women balance career and family, American moms applauded -- and immediately came up with a wish-list of policy changes.
The list of demands from working parents in the United States is long, in part because family policies lag far behind most industrialized nations.
There is no paid maternity leave mandated in the United States, a situation shared by only three other countries: Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Liberia, according to a 2007 study by Harvard and McGill universities.
"I've heard mothers in some European countries get paid to stay home," said Fleming, somewhat incredulously. "I don't see that happening, companies (here) don't value it as much."
These people want companies to pay them for chosing to have a baby and want the government to pay for their childcare."I work, my husband works, and child-care is like $1,500 a month for an infant. That's crazy. You can hardly afford to work and pay the bill," Fleming said.
Beth Myers Graham, a 36-year-old mother of two and full-time environmental consultant, said the government's current $5,000 a year tax credit for child-care should be increased to reflect the real cost of care.
"Anyone who has one child knows that doesn't even cover that child's care, let alone additional children," she said.
Personal responsibility, out the window.