18 April 2012

When a Mother Has No Choice

While politicians scrambled to distance themselves from Hilary Rosen’s ill-chosen remarks about Ann Romney, the bigger point was overlooked.

“All moms are entitled to choose their path,” the candidate’s wife tweeted.

Unfortunately, that’s just not true.

It’s not a choice for the single mother to work three jobs to keep her family afloat when she would rather be a stay-at-home mom.

It’s not a choice for the woman whose family will lose health care benefits if she reduces her hours to care for her special-needs child.

And it’s not a choice for the woman who can’t afford not to work because her family needs her additional income to survive.

For these women, work offers a lifeline for their families. Without it, they couldn’t put food on the table or clothes on their children’s backs.

On the other end of the spectrum is the growing number of women who would prefer to work but whose salaries won’t cover the high cost of day care. For some of these women, low levels of education are a barrier in attaining jobs that pay well enough. For others, disparities in pay prevent them from earning as much as their male counterparts.

The Ms. Foundation wants every woman to have the same choices that Ann Romney did. That’s why we support organizations like All Our Kin, whose Toolkit Licensing Program helps support women who need access to affordable child care while also creating jobs for women, who constitute the majority of child care providers in the United States.

It’s why we advocate for access to affordable health care services, including contraception. And why we promote policies that help women and families achieve economic security.

Because wealth should not be a prerequisite for choice.

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