WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that she introduced the Marshall Plan for Moms (H.Res.121), a bold and sweeping piece of legislation seeking to revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, moms, especially moms of color, have been forced to leave the workforce in droves in order to meet the unprecedented demands of caregiving, remote schooling, and housework during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Marshall Plan for Moms recognizes these challenges, and puts forward a framework of numerous provisions that aim to help moms return to the workforce so that they can resume and advance their careers, and stop losing out on wages that are critical to their family’s economic security.
At the beginning of 2020, even in the face of continued gender and racial wage gaps, women made up the majority of the workforce for the first time in almost a decade. A year later, women have lost over 5.4 million net jobs and account for 55 percent of overall net job loss since the start of the COVID outbreak. Today, there are over two million fewer women – or more specifically, one million mothers less – in the labor force than there were before the pandemic which has triggered a financial and emotional calamity for America’s moms, who are shouldering the majority of child care, domestic work, and remote school responsibilities. Moms of color and single moms are among the hardest hit.
“Moms throughout America are screaming out for help,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Moms – especially, moms of color – have been pushed to the brink of economic, social, and emotional collapse due to this pandemic. Moms were always fighting an uphill battle against gender norms and racial and gender pay equity – and like so many other issues, the pandemic has only exacerbated existing injustices and inequalities. The unprecedented burdens of child care, work, remote learning – on top of the social isolation – have strained the mental and emotional health of mothers. As a mom of two young boys, this issue is especially personal to me. Moms everywhere are saying: something has to give, before something ultimately breaks. The Marshall Plan for Moms calls for transformational structural change. It is a blueprint to make sure moms have a fighting chance, and that they are protected against any future economic calamities. It is time that we recognize the struggles and sacrifices that mothers have made and do all we can to rebuild their presence in the labor force so that they can provide for their families, and climb the ranks that lead to shattering more glass ceilings.”
The Marshall Plan for Moms calls for robust paid leave; saving our child care industry with a vision toward universal child care and early learning; investing in our education system, including broadband connections; strengthening child poverty tools such as a child tax credit and earned income tax credit; expanding unemployment insurance benefits; strong Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; a federal minimum wage increase to $15 an hour; and mental health support for moms.
The Marshall Plan for Moms is endorsed by: Girls Who Code, National Partnership for Women and Families, MomsRising, Women's March, National Women’s Law Center, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and American Association of University Women.
"We're in a national crisis that's disproportionately affecting women and, specifically, mothers,” said Reshma Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code. “Before this pandemic, women made up half of the workforce. Now, there are three newly unemployed moms for every one dad is unemployed. We need our government to provide relief to working moms now. Congresswoman Grace Meng has stepped up to the moment and introduced the ‘Marshall Plan for Moms,’ a resolution that details a plan to get women back to work, not just in a few decades, but immediately. This is leadership. Now is not the time to go small, and Congresswoman Meng gets that. This bold action sends a signal that we are investing in women during this critical time, and I encourage Congress to support this resolution immediately."
“We applaud Congresswoman Meng for her leadership in addressing the economic fallout from nearly a million mothers
leaving the workforce because of the pandemic,” said Erika Moritsugu, Vice President for Congressional Relations at the National Partnership for Women and Families.
“The Marshall Plan for Moms calls for the care infrastructure, supportive workplaces, paid leave policies, rebuilding of the child care industry and gender and racial pay equities that will begin to address the systemic racism and gender inequality that has forced women out of the workforce. At a moment when moms are struggling thru a pandemic wall, the Marshall Plan for Moms, shows someone is listening, cares and is taking action for them.”
“Even before the pandemic, moms were suffering due to antiquated policies and pervasive discrimination in the workplace, with moms of color experiencing the most harm,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO of MomsRising, the national online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families. “The pandemic has made things much worse. Rep. Meng’s resolution describes the solutions we urgently need, from a robust national paid leave program to major investments in child care and education to food and nutrition support, and more. This resolution should be a blueprint for lawmakers working to help moms, families and our country recover.”
“Across America, the pandemic has devastated working women. And mothers, single moms and women of color specifically, are hurting most. Too many have been laid off or had to quit their jobs because of childcare costs—and in the absence of government support, too many are left wondering how many more months of rent they can afford to pay, how many more meals they can afford to feed their families. Congresswoman Meng's Marshall Plan for Moms is a critical first step to getting America's mothers back on their feet—and a long overdue acknowledgment that there is value in the unpaid labor women do every day,” said Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, Deputy Executive Director of Program, Women's March.
“The COVID crisis has exacerbated race and gender inequities in our economy, and one big reason for this is that has precipitated a collapse in our already shaky caregiving infrastructure,” said Emily Martin, Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). “Women–and specifically mothers–have been caught in that collapse. This is a national emergency. Recovery and rebuilding from this crisis means doing the work to ensure that caregiving no longer puts women at risk of losing their jobs or falling into poverty. We commend Congresswoman Meng for introducing the Marshall Plan for Moms to help combat this problem.”
“During this pandemic, many Asian American and Pacific Islander mothers are forced to put their own and their family’s health at risk to earn a living -- all for a fraction of what their male counterparts are paid,” Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). “At the same time, the massive burden of child care and remote learning has led many women to stop working or looking for work. The pandemic has only intensified the burden AAPI mothers carry in a system that has always left us to fend for ourselves. Comprehensive pandemic relief that addresses the urgent needs of mothers, like what is outlined in Congresswoman Meng's Marshall Plan for Moms, is critical to our economic recovery and the well-being of our families.”
"The pandemic has been a nightmare for working moms, and its fallout threatens the progress women have made in the past decades,” said Kimberly Churches, CEO of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “The problem has been simmering beneath the surface for a long time, but we’re at the point where we require bold and decisive action. AAUW endorses the Marshall Plan for Women and applauds Congresswoman Meng for prioritizing working moms. No one questions the enormous value women bring to the workforce so there should be no doubt that we owe them the unwavering support they so desperately need."
Meng’s Marshall Plan for Moms is named after the Marshall Plan that provided assistance to Europe after World War II.
The measure, which can be viewed here
, includes 35 cosponsors and has been referred to several House committees where it is awaiting further action. These include the Education and Labor Committee, Agriculture Committee, Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee.