One of the most authoritative voices on the topic of women striking that elusive work-life balance is Anne-Marie Slaughter, who’s famous 2012 “Why Women Can’t Have It All” article published in The Atlantic ignited a national debate. Slaughter, a Princeton law professor who formerly worked in Hillary Clinton’s State Department and is the mother of two, is putting now putting President-elect Donald Trump’s child care proposals under the microscope. Her assessment, in a column published by the Financial Times, is that Trump’s proposals are a step in the right direction — particularly for a Republican president. Slaughter notes that Trump has proposed something never before broached by a Republican president: mandating by law that women are guaranteed paid family leave by employers.
In September, Trump outlined the specifics of his plan, under which new mothers would be guaranteed a minimum of six weeks of maternity leave following the birth of a child. Families with one stay-at-home parent will also be able to deduct the costs of childcare (or an elderly dependent adult) from their taxes for people earning less than $250,000 a year or $500,000 a year if filing their taxes jointly. “We need working mothers to be fairly compensated for their work, and to have access to affordable, quality child care for their kids,” Trump said at the time.
But that’s not all he needs to do, according to Slaughter. Trump is forgetting equal coverage for moms and dads. “If Mr. Trump wants to help all families, that means fathers, adoptive parents and same-sex couples must be eligible for the same benefits,” Slaughter writes in her column. “If he wants to support working women then he must be able to envisage a world in which they receive the same support at home from their spouses as working men do from theirs. Many of his supporters may find care roles emasculating but the alternative is to continue to saddle women with two jobs while men only have one.”
And that’s hardly the only suggestion Slaughter has for Trump. To assist those who need it most, Slaughter says “paid leave should operate on a sliding scale, ensuring that poorer workers receive their entire salaries.” And while she is encouraged that he “is recognizing that care work is work, even if it is unpaid and a labor of love,” she has some ideas on how to improve some of his existing proposals — ideas that wouldn’t be that hard to implement. Of course, as Slaughter notes, the big unknown in this equation is how much political capital Trump is willing to spend to get a Republican-controlled Congress to pass this type of legislation.
In April, Slaughter appeared onstage at the Women in the World New York Summit alongside Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi in a panel moderated by Nora O’Donnell. The two discussed the personal sacrifices they’ve each made throughout their careers and talked about which are the most important years in a child’s life, among other things. Watch the full video of the panel below.
Read the full story at The Financial Times.