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Working moms have won the culture wars, and here’s the evidence

September 20, 2016

Is 2017 the year political rhetoric will meet reality for working mothers? Bryce Covert, the economic policy editor at ThinkProgress, thinks it very well could be. In an Op-Ed for The New York Times, she explained what she bases this logic upon: A “deeply flawed” plan that was unveiled last week. Covert argues that the rollout of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s plan for child care, the first Republican to ever make such a political overture, is a sign that working moms “have won the culture war” and “are making advances in the policy battle.”

Covert acknowledges the flaws in Trump’s plan — it offers fathers nothing and, therefore, could be detrimental to working mothers — but writes that the fact it was introduced at all marks a cultural turning point. In fact, it was Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton who first raised the issue in earnest during the 2008 campaign and, until Trump, was the only presidential candidate to give the topic any serious discussion. And she launched her 2016 campaign with it being one of her core issues.

Covert goes on to recount just how much the topic has not been an issue in previous campaign seasons. But shifts in the numbers of working mothers have caused the issue of paid leave to be one that causes concern for women — and men. In fact, she notes, four U.S. states have gone out on their own and launched paid leave programs due to high demand. We’re now having “a debate over how best to help [working moms] balance work and home, not whether [they] should be working at all,” Covert writes, a far crying from the “working-mom fearmongering” that was pervasive in the 1980s and 1990s.

Read the full Op-Ed at The New York Times


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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referred Bryce Covert using the male pronoun “he” instead of the pronoun “she.” We regret the error and apologize to Covert for the mistake.