Families need child care and paid leave, not conservative fantasies

Vicki Shabo and Marcia St. Hilaire-Finn

When we were testifying last month at a congressional hearing, one of us as a paid leave and gender equity expert and the other as the owner of a small and growing child care center business, we encountered a common and pernicious myth: that American moms could and should choose to stay home to raise their children. If they did, all these pesky problems with paid leave and child care wouldn’t even exist.  

Yet, as we’ve so clearly seen this year, when millions of parents have interrupted work or left jobs to provide care to children, it’s women who have disproportionately taken on the extra load. This was the result of a major crisis and spurred major disruption to families’ incomes, housing, food security and more. We hope it will now catalyze public investments in paid leave and child care that were badly needed before the pandemic and essential for rebuilding in its wake. 

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