Map: Does your state actually care about working parents?

The National Partnership for Women and Families is out with a new report called “Expecting Better” that grades state laws that help new parents–such as paid parental leave, paid sick days, protections against pregnancy discrimination, and laws to accommodate breastfeeding mothers. A whopping 18 states were given Fs for “failing to provide a single benefit or program to help support families before and after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.”

map of state grades on laws helping new parents

It’s not news that the U.S. is notoriously “family unfriendly.” Rhetorically, of course, politicians of both stripes think mothering is the most important job in the world–one apparently deserving of lavish praise but little material support. It has never ceased to amaze me that conservatives can get away with yammering ad nauseam about their “pro-family” values without supporting a single policy to help real families. Indeed, as Jezebel notes, conservative states get some of the worst grades. It’s high-time both progressives and conservatives not only expected but also demanded better.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • Stella

    Thanks for doing this post. Since 80% of US women will have a child at some point in their lives (and more will adopt or otherwise come into the care of a child) this is a big issue.

    This should also serve as a reminder that “family values” is not about supporting families, but instead is coded language for “putting women into their place.” Meaning, if you want to reproduce, missy, you need to be prepared to depend on a man 100% for your financial support and give up any sort of position of authority you earned prior to motherhood. Wealthy men particularly benefit from this. We need to resist it by fighting for policies that preserve women’s human right to both make a living and reproduce. Men have this presumed right and we deserve it too. All other developed nations at least TRY to protect it (via paid maternity leave and other accomodations for working parents).

  • Nonsequiteuse

    This is hardly scientific analysis, but I read this post after looking at a map on another site of the states that went for Obama or McCain in 2008, so I got curious & broke out my colored pens and a blank map.

    There’s only one state that went for Obama in 2008 that also rates an F for working parents – Delaware.

    Many of the states that are considered to be toss-ups in the Obama/Romney match-up were either F or D states on the working parents map.

    I’m going to whip this out if anyone DARES tell me how “pro-life” regressives are.

  • Mia Maria

    “It has never ceased to amaze me that conservatives can get away with yammering ad nauseam about their “pro-family” values without supporting a single policy to help real families. ”

    That actually never surprised me. According to their belief system (whether they admit it or not) it’s best for the kids if mommy stays home until they’re in college. So mommy won’t need parental leave or sick days because she’s home anyway and daddy doesn’t need it either because taking care of a sick toddler is not a part of his godgiven job description.

    • toongrrl

      Oh My God they’re trying to force Women into the home!

    • Robert

      You said that well. That’s exactly how conservatives think and it sounds bad but it’s not always the case. I grew up with a SAHM and even though my dad didn’t make much we could still afford trips every year. I don’t know what day care costs are but my female peers that have kids in day care are barely getting by working full time. Sometimes, and I stress sometimes, it’s not a bad idea for a woman to be a SAHM and let a spouse take care of the bills. The problem is these days many well off guys are refusing to settle down or are leaving the country and settling down with a “housewife” in a third world country.