The topic for Women's Money Week 2015 is parental leave, a topic most of the moms (and dads) I know care about passionately. The US is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't require maternity and paternity leave. But we can change that. When you participate in Women's Money week, you can change lives. There are many ways that we as bloggers and writers impact a person's life. Perhaps it's by giving them a tip to save more for retirement, earn a higher salary, or save a few bucks on a product they want to buy.
But when you write about maternity leave or paternity leave, you aren't just impacting your readers' wallets, you're impacting what matters to them most -- their time with their family.
Why Does Parental Leave Matter?
According the the national grassroots organization MomsRising.org:
- Having a baby is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses.
- In the U.S., 49% of mothers cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave.
- 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave -- so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
- The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
- Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).
Take Action with Women's Money Week
When you give guidance about family leave, you're impacting not just your reader, but a tiny person - a new baby brought into this world. Will his first few weeks be fraught with parents who are stressed about heating bills, how to get to work on time, or wondering if they will even have a job to go back to? Or will that new baby's first few weeks be spent with parents who are able to give him 100% of their attention and love (albeit as exhausted as they may be)?
Because when both parents have time and financial support to spend with their little one and with each other, the child is more likely to thrive. And the parents are more likely to be happier - and eventually return to work well-rested and with the capacity to earn more money and stay in the workplace longer.
You might think of maternity leave and paternity leave as issues that really only affect people working minimum wage jobs. But, did you know that male residents at the Mayo Clinic only get 2 days of paternity leave? Basically, they get to be present for they birth of their child, then they have to return to work. Their work of course is taking care of or operating on you or your parents or grandparents -- even when they're sleep-deprived new parents.
So who wants to earn more money and have time with their family?
We all do, right? That's why this year's Women's Money Week topic is parental leave. That is - maternity leave and paternity leave. It's clear that maternity leave helps women. But paternity leave does too. In fact, a recent study showed in an eye-opening piece that a mother’s future earnings increased an average of 7% for every month of leave the father took.
The US is one of only 3 countries in the entire world that doesn't require maternity leave benefits. That's right, even North Korea requires leave.
You Can Make a Difference
So what difference can you make as a writer or blogger?
Parental leave is a a hot topic. And it's non-partisan. Because the topic is so timely, bloggers can make a huge difference. By telling our stories and/or giving amazing advice, we can hit this issue on two fronts.
First, we can help people help themselves. Until there is some large-scale policy change, most folks are on their own when it comes to parental leave. So give your readers the resources they need to change their own lives. (For example, tips about saving money for leave, covering their leave through disability insurance/vacation, places or professions with good leave policies, etc.)
Second, by writing about the issue we encourage those in decision making positions (be it on the business or government level) to make broader changes. The more people committed to writing about this issue, the more likely there will be some real policy change.
So, will you join me in writing about maternity leave, paternity leave, and/or parental leave during Women's Money Week this year? Make a difference for your readers. And make a difference for their kids. Sign up for Women's Money Week 2015 now.
What You'll Get Out of Participating
When you participate in Women's Money Week, your website will get great publicity. You'll get linked to from daily emails during Women's Money Week, the WMW website, our Twitter account, and other bloggers' websites.
Plus, Women's Money Week ends on International Women's Day (March 8). In past years, journalists looking for timely, interesting angles for their International Women's Day stories have contacted WMW participants for interviews.