News you can relate to

114 million Americans have no paid family leave “I went back to work 4 weeks after I had my baby because I couldn’t afford to stay home any longer. Even though my baby was in the NICU for a week and needed me, I had no choice but to go back to work.”

Gwen Ifill, Host Of ‘Washington Week’ And ‘PBS NewsHour,’ Dies “When I was a little girl watching programs like this — because that’s the kind of nerdy family we were — I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of color,”

Transgender Americans Organize to Update IDs before January “By Friday, TransLawHelp.org had become a significant database of trans-positive legal resources for lawyers, notaries, and paralegals who are up for pitching in to help trans people update their documents. There’s also a link to an official fund so people can donate to cover the costs of document updates for trans people.”

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

These middle school girls are fired up about a dress code that makes them go so far as to cover their shoulders but doesn’t mention boys at all.

Michelle Obama gave a very candid speech on the realities of being black in America at Tuskegee University’s commencement.

The US is one of only two countries in the entire world that doesn’t offer paid time off for new mothers. John Oliver tries his best to wrap his head around this dispiriting fact.

Paid leave pays off

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: access to money can protect women from abuse. A steady job offers not only income, but also protects against isolation, a powerful way abusers control their partners.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how workplaces support parents, probably because of my own preparation for baby #2 who is on her way. I am so fortunate to work for an organization that offers more leave than the law requires— some of it is even paid! This is a fantasy for many working moms-to-be. And yet, I still have to go back to work too soon and stress about both finding childcare and the financial burden that goes with it.

Imagine a place where new mothers (and often fathers) get ample paid leave when they have a baby, and childcare is available and affordable when it’s time to go back to work. Yeah, that place is called Germany, or Sweden, or Norway.  And while these are among the most generous places that offer paid leave, many countries throughout the world do.

The U.S. has recently been called out for our lack of support for mothers in the workplace. This is not good for any of us, but it especially affects those who are dealing with abuse in their relationships. Without enough paid leave, women risk losing their jobs, their income, their support network.

And parental leave isn’t the only factor. Paid sick leave and flexible work schedules have also been shown to benefit employers and employees alike and give critical help to those dealing with abuse. Let’s shift the way we think about jobs in this country and demand policies and practices that better support families.