#FamilyFirstFridays: Real Leadership Needed for Women and Families
It’s hard to keep up with the news these days. And, like me, if you’re a woman, you may be struggling extra hard to find silver linings amidst a constant drumbeat of attacks on women’s lived experiences: having our truths, our safety, our sense of dignity and worth, and our priorities questioned, dismissed, and downright outvoted is just plain hard right now. I’m not only talking about the attacks at the Federal level. Now, more than ever, women in DC need reassurance from local leaders that our lives, our experiences, and our families matter and are worthy of support.
A few weeks ago at Mayor Bowser’s Summit on Maternal and Infant Health, the Mayor missed a tremendous opportunity to model what political will looks like when it comes to centering and investing in women, especially working moms who are feeling stuck at every turn.
As LaDon Love, Organizing Director at Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity In Action, writes in an op-ed this week in The DC Line, “At the mayor’s summit, there was no talk of creating a safety net for working moms. Families need both paid family leave and Birth-to-Three supports. Paid family leave helps both mothers and babies get off to a healthy start; women who use it are less likely to need follow-up hospitalizations, and instances of infant mortality drop by up to 13 percent. And the Birth-to-Three strategy will see our youngest community members through the critical early years… That’s why residents and advocates worked hard to pass these two complementary measures. We cannot leave our children, parents and community to chance.”
** Op-ed shared and reposted with permission from LaDon Love **
Instead of committing to invest in proven policies and strategies to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, the week prior to the Summit, the Mayor announced that the District could not simultaneously support paid family leave, perinatal health interventions, and affordable early learning childcare options. These priorities for working families (priorities that especially affect the wellbeing of women) were instead pitted against each other. It’s time we stop minimizing women, listen to their needs, and act accordingly.