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If America really valued mothers, we wouldn’t treat them like this

Journalist Ezra Klein uses data from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center to highlight the need for better support for working mothers in America.
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Date: 
Monday, May 12, 2014
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On Mother's Day, a video from Cardstore.com went viral. In it, the company pretended to recruit for a seemingly impossible job. They told applicants that the job requires you to stand all day and put in 135 hours a week — or more. It means you have to work nights and weekends. There's no time off, and the hours increase around Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. The position requires skill in finance, medicine and food preparation. It entails intense physical labor and a total collapse in your personal life. Oh, and it pays absolutely nothing.

They called the job director of operations, but it's real title, of course, is mom.

Cardstore.com sent the video out into the world video with the hashtag #WorldsToughestJob. But here's the thing about the world's toughest job: a lot of the people doing it also hold another job, or even a few other jobs. More than two-thirds of mothers hold jobs outside the home, and mothers are the primary earners in 40 percent of families. But in America, public policy makes balancing those jobs a lot harder than it has to be.

America is, for instance, one of the only countries in the world that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave. This map from UCLA's WORLD Policy Analysis Center tells the tale well: our maternal leave policies make us look more like Papua New Guinea than, say, any country in Western Europe: