The economic and occupational disadvantages of motherhood are well documented in
current social research. For examples, visit the resources section of the Mothers Movement Online.
of 2000 surveys from Public Agenda show that 70% of parents believe
the best arrangement for child care during a child’s early
is years is to have one parent at home full time, and that more
than 2 out of every 5 Americans believe the trend of more women
working and having a career at the same time they are raising children
is a negative development.
census data suggests the number of dads who stay at home full
time to care for their families is growing; an estimated 110,000
non-employed fathers in the U.S. who have taken on the role of primary
caregiver (as compared to approximately 6 million moms).
2002 survey by State Farm Insurance and Public Agenda reports 74% of parents agreed that teaching children to be independent
is “absolutely essential” while only 62% believe it's essential to
teach children to “help those who are less fortunate." (The same survey reported
that only 33% of parents surveyed feel it is absolutely essential
to teach their children to “enjoy art and literature”
-- no comment.) The Child Trends 2002 Charting Parenthood report indicates 59% of mothers and 52% of fathers believe
that “thinking for oneself” is the most important thing
for a child to learn; fewer than 10% of mothers and fathers in the same
study placed a high priority on teaching their children to “help others
recent study on cognitive bias found that homemakers are typically
stereotyped as having a competence level similar to retarded people,
the disabled, the elderly and the blind. (Susan T. Fiske, Amy J.
Cuddy, A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence
and Warmth Respectively Follow From Perceived Status and Competition,
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 2002). Feminist
philosopher Eva Feder Kittay describes care work as “dependency
work” to clarify the dependent nature of both the cared-for
and the care-giver (Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality
and Dependency, 1999).
6. The litany of disadvantages affecting children in America–
which, as we know, is one of the wealthiest nations in the world—
has been pretty well publicized, including high under-5 mortality
rates, high poverty rates, and lower rates of access to health care
in comparison to children in other wealthy nations. Visit the Children’s
Defense Fund Web site (www.childrensdefense.org)
for more details.
7. “Maternalist” social movements during the late 19th
and early 20th century had a profound influence on policy-making
though the mid-1900s. By promoting social programs to support children
and families, middle-class women affiliated with massive voluntary organizations
were extremely successful in securing social reforms. But rather
than protecting the general needs of women for better working conditions
and economic security, maternalist sentiment focused on the value
of a woman’s well-being in relation to motherhood. A modern
example of maternalist strategy was evident in the Million Mom March
of May 2000. Concerned mothers organized a mass demonstration Washington,
DC -- not to decry gun violence against women and mothers, but to
call attention to the problem of gun violence against children.