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Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani. Photo: Steve Ferdman/Getty Images
Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani. Photo: Steve Ferdman/Getty Images

The argument for a Marshall Plan for Mothers

Former political candidate and Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani recently put out a call to President Joe Biden for more aid for American mothers.

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COVID-19 has greatly impacted the economy, and working women have experienced more than their fair share of economic losses for two main reasons.

First, the industries that employ more women, like retail, healthcare and hospitality, were hit very hard by the pandemic. Second, the mass closures of child care centers and schools have forced many women to leave the workforce to care for their kids.

Between February and August, mothers of children 12 years and younger lost 2.2 million jobs, compared to the 870,000 jobs lost by fathers. These losses are even worse for women of color, as 6.4% of Black mothers have left the workforce, compared to only 2.4% of white mothers, according to a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve. 

A coalition made of 50 female CEOS, actors and activists are now calling on President Biden to address the problem. 

The group, led by former political candidate and Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani, placed a full-page ad in the New York Times on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and published op-eds in The Hill and The Independent

The ad, written as an open letter to the President, urged him to establish a “task force” to create a plan to assist mothers. 

The most specific request is to provide means-tested, short-term monthly payments of $2,400 to mothers. It is also asking for paid family leave, pay equity and affordable childcare, issues that already existed, but were exacerbated by the pandemic. 

This “Marshall Plan for Moms” is a reference to the Marshall Plan of 1948 that gave European countries financial support following World War II. 

Celebrity moms who support the plan include Eva Longoria Bastón, Gabrielle Union, Amber Tamblyn, Julianne Moore, Amy Schumer, Alyssa Milano, Connie Britton and Charlize Theron. 

Milano and Tamblyn both tweeted in support of the plan on Jan. 26, writing, “we are in a national crisis and moms are leaving the workforce in droves. We need to support them.” 

Saujani told The Daily Briefing earlier this month that in eight out of 10 families, the responsibility to homeschool children is falling to women. 

“Many women are downsizing their hours, they’re quitting their jobs in entirety and going on food stamps or moving in with their parents or taking on the night shift,” she explained to host Dana Perino. “It is causing huge economic consequences for women.” 

In her op-ed for The Hill, Saujani wrote about the observations she’s made through her work with Girls Who Code. 

“Every day I log my son onto Zoom-school and see other women helping their own toddlers find the mute button. Every day I log onto video calls and see exhausted moms with infants in their laps, or I get a call from a panicked mom — for instance, in recent weeks, about how to care for her daughter after local schools gave parents only a few hours’ notice of another maddening and confusing closure,” she said. 

Many mothers are at their breaking point and need financial support to continue the valuable work they do, rest and recover, and stimulate the economy. Aid for them would benefit everyone.

“It will give women the support they need so they can, eventually, get back to work, and it will send a hugely important signal to little girls and young women across the country: that our society values the contributions of women, and that their careers, dreams and lives will not be taken for granted,” Saujani said. 

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