New bill will create a “Marshall Plan for Moms” Task Force
City Hall, NY – In recognition of the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women, and working mothers in particular, new legislation will be introduced in the City Council on May 12 to help revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce.
The legislation comes at a critical time. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 5.4 million women have lost their jobs, which is nearly a million more than men. In New York City, the pandemic forced 52 percent of women who provide care to reduce their paid working hours, compared to one in three men, according to a poll by the New York City Comptroller’s Office. The crisis was most severe for women of color: 36% of them needed to take time off to care for a child compared to 29 percent of white women.
To help address these issues, City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel is introducing a bill to form a “Marshall Plan for Moms” New York City Task Force. Its goal is to develop recommendations on how to support working mothers and caregivers as New York City continues its recovery from the pandemic.
In addition, Council Member Laurie Cumbo is introducing a resolution that calls on Congress to pass the “Marshall Plan for Moms 2021,” a resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Grace Meng. This resolution seeks to help create a path for a robust paid leave, along with affordable childcare for mothers who had to leave the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the federal resolution calls for strengthening child poverty tools such as a child tax credit and earned income tax credit; expanding unemployment insurance benefits; strong Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; a federal minimum wage increase to $15 an hour; and mental health support for moms.
The Marshall Plan is a reference to U.S. efforts to help Europe recover from World War II. The “Marshall Plan for Moms” is a movement to center mothers in our economic recovery and push for policies that support them.
Members of the proposed City taskforce will be comprised by officials appointed by the Mayor and the Speaker. The taskforce will come up with recommendations designed to support working mothers and caregivers. The task force will explore:
- The benefits of providing recurring direct cash payments to moms and other caregivers and of a comprehensive paid family leave policy for all employers in the city
- How to best revitalize and restore the role of mothers in the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and following recovery;
- The biggest contributors to and solutions for addressing the lack of family-supportive workplaces;
- Access to rent relief, public assistance and financial support for mothers and caregivers in the workforce
- Rebuilding and stabilizing the childcare industry
- Access to culturally sensitive, affordable and quality healthcare for women and families, regardless of job status; and
- Access to mental health support for mothers and other caregivers, which is essential to maintaining the health of the family.
“Our economy can’t recover without mothers in the workforce, but we can’t expect them to work if the infrastructure isn’t there for them to manage work and family life. Paid leave and child care should not be based on how much you earn or where you work, they should be universal so we can end the inequities our nation has tolerated for too long,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Mothers don’t need cards and praise once a year, they need child-care and access to paid leave year-round,” said Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo. “During this pandemic, mothers were expected to do the impossible. They cared for young children, taught those in school, helped sick family members and too many had to leave the workforce because they didn’t have the support they needed to continue. When mothers suffer, everyone suffers. And if we want our City and country to recover, we need to find ways to make sure we create systems where working mothers can thrive and don’t have to quit or reduce their hours when there is a national crisis.”
“On this Mother’s Day, we need to get real about what moms are dealing with right now. This pandemic has made so many of their lives excruciatingly difficult, and we’re never going to have a full recovery if we don’t step up and support them. That’s why I am so proud to be sponsoring this bill to create a ‘Marshall Plan for Moms Task Force,’ which will examine the struggles mothers are facing and help find ways New York City can address these challenges. These problems didn’t start with the pandemic, but it’s clear they’ve gotten worse and will continue to get worse if we don’t take steps now. Let’s be part of the solution,” said Council Member AlickaAmpry-Samuel.
“As a proud mother and grandmother, nothing is more important than my family but working while raising children is difficult. We need policies that make it easier for women to do both. We need a ‘Marshall Plan for Moms,’” said Darma V. Diaz, Chair of theCommittee on Women and Gender Equity.
“It is no secret how hard mothers work around-the-clock to support themselves and their families. Women deserve their fair share, regardless of their workspace. With more women of color at home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to end the racial and gender disparities that perpetuate poverty in predominantly Black and brown households. The Marshall Plan for Moms Task Force is a crucial headstart to normalizing working mothers while advancing gender equity and pay parity,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, co-chair of the Women’sCaucus.
“The past year has made it more clear than ever that we need a serious reckoning around the way we value and support motherhood,” said Reshma Saujani, founder of Marshall Plan for Moms and CEO of Girls Who Code. “We need to acknowledge that in order to achieve gender equity we must value women’s unpaid labor. We need a Marshall Plan for Moms. It’s wonderful that the New York City Council is hearing our call and taking meaningful steps to change the way we value mom’s unseen and unpaid work.”