This week in women’s issues: Maternity leave
By Annika Jensen, Editor-in-Chief
Donald Trump recently unveiled his child care policy in which he called for paid maternity leave, an unorthodox move for a Republican party nominee. Trump’s plan would provide six weeks of paid leave for new mothers, though it did not specify the rate of pay these women would receive; meanwhile, opponent Hillary Clinton has promised parents 12 weeks paid leave and at least two-thirds of their current wages. Both candidates acknowledge that the United States is currently the most unsatisfactory country in the developed world in maternity leave policy.
It’s true: out of all other developed nations, our policy is ranked last. Studies show that mothers with fewer than eight weeks of paid leave are at a high risk of developing depression, as they are unable to fully recover from giving birth (a fairly grueling process, I’ve been told) and bond with their newborn children. Trump’s plan would keep the United States in last place, while Clinton’s would move us up to third.
I’ve heard talk that it’s all well and good that these candidates even included maternity leave in their childcare policies, but it’s well past time that we stop allowing baseline plans to exist as the norm. Childcare is important; the mental and physical health of parents are important. Moreover, it is well past time that we stop regarding “parents” as the heteronormative duality of man and woman; parents can be single mothers, single fathers, and people on the LGBTQA spectrum. They all deserve paid leave, proper medical care and sufficient time to bond with their children.
So it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump’s new plan is unorthodox or surprising; it is not good enough. It blatantly undermines the value of parenthood and disregards the importance of the health of new parents and their familial relationships. It doesn’t even meet the baseline required to ensure that new mothers are at a low risk of depression and provides no benefit to working class Americans. It assumes childcare to be a woman’s job, an idea that should be long gone in 2016.
It is well past time that we stop accepting these standards.