Family & Relationships Trump Tells Women, 'We're Getting Your Husbands Back to Work,' But What About Moms?

15:25  30 october  2020
15:25  30 october  2020 Source:   workingmother.com

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We’re the ones leaving in droves.

a person sitting at a table with a laptop and smiling at the camera: dad handing baby to mom © Provided by Working Mother dad handing baby to mom

In highlighting the need for husbands to get back to work, the president makes women feel like our role is to do unpaid labor.

Getty Images

It was a quick comment, but it spoke soliloquies. One week before the election, at a rally on October 27 in the battleground state of Michigan, President Trump addressed the women in the audience: "I'm also getting your husbands, they want to get back to work, right? They want to get back to work. We're getting your husbands back to work, and everybody wants it.”

There was a quiet chorus of yeses in response. Some head nods. But there wasn’t a mention of the 865,000 women who dropped out of the workforce in September, four times the amount of men. A number that large, presumably, because moms don’t earn as much as dads and with daycare closures and the full-time job that is managing distance learning for grade-schoolers, it just makes short-term financial sense in heterosexual dual-career couples for the mom to stop working. In fact, three times as many millennial moms than dads quit their jobs during the pandemic when they didn’t have childcare.

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But hear this, Mr. President: Moms want to get back to work too. Focusing on fixing the situation of unemployed men, rather than women, confirms that you care more about their economic opportunity and professional achievement than ours—or even as your own daughter publishes books about working women, you’re not paying attention.

The policies moms, and the country, for that matter, need right now are around living wages, childcare subsidies and paid leave, all of which would keep women in the workforce and therefore boost the economy, a goal both sides of the aisle have right now. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Working Mother that President Trump was the first president to include nationwide paid family leave in his budget. But we’re still waiting for that to come to fruition.

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Yes, it’s true there are moms who don’t want to pursue paid work, and perhaps those moms are more likely to be in Trump’s base, the group he was addressing at that rally. But the electorate absolutely includes moms like me who want real childcare solutions so we can hit the career goals we’d been working toward before a virus shrunk our economy and ended hundreds of thousands of lives. We love our families, but we derive great personal fulfillment from the paid work we do. And we want to reclaim that ability that the pandemic has stripped from so many of us.

If that sounds selfish coming from me, a mom of a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old, ask yourself: Would it sound selfish coming from my husband, the dad of those same two kids? If a president wants to help him get back to work, but not me—even if it’s for the financial prosperity of my family—what does that say about who he thinks should be in the workforce and who shouldn’t, or at least doesn’t need to be?

In that same rally, President Trump said: “And I love women, and I can't help it. They're the greatest. I love them much more than the men.”

If that’s the truth, help us reach what so many of us want: equal pay to men, equal opportunity to be business leaders and the reliable childcare that’ll help us get there.

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