Call to Action! Mothers Count, Count Our Work!

Support Resources for Mothers and other Caregivers
Every Mother is a Working Mother

In this Presidential election year, the debate on whether or not being a mother is work has emerged. President Obama has said that being a mother is the hardest job there is, and Mitt Romney defending his wife said “every mother is a working mother.”

And indeed being a mother, a caregiver (motherwork), is hard work, whether we are raising one or several children, breastfeeding or caring for a child with physical or emotional disabilities. Some of us are also caring for a veteran with PTSD or other war related illnesses, or for an elder family member. Many of us are working a double day: unwaged caregiving combined with paid work, usually low paid work. Although many of us press men to share caregiving work, it is still overwhelmingly done by women.

Why shouldn’t all mothers have the same right as millionaire Anne Romney to raise our own children? Low income mothers are also doing “the hardest job there is”, minus access to the money and servants. Yet we are vilified & lied about as lazy dependent moochers. Without farm work, justice and other volunteer work, entire communities and religious institutions could not function. Does all that work count for nothing?

Now, for the first time in decades there are two pieces of legislation that recognize the work of mothers.

The Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act (Pete Stark, D- CA) would recognize that raising children is vital work, and give mothers the option of raising young children fulltime at home under current welfare legislation (TANF). The RISE Out of Poverty Act (Gwen Moore, D-WI) would make ending child poverty the primary goal of TANF. The two bills together are a power for mothers everywhere, whether we are low income or not. They begin to finally value and provide resources for mothers and to undermine the growing poverty of women and children.

We hope other elected officials will get behind these bills! It is time for politicians of the right, left and center to stop talking out of both sides of their mouths, paying lip-service to the work of mothers while cutting resources for moms with the least. None of them would be there without the work of mothers. They need to stop pretending that work is only what is done outside the home, & demanding that mothers “get a job”.

From social security (where our years raising children are called our “zero years”, increasing our chances of being impoverished as we age), to welfare (TANF) policies, to lack of pay equity in waged work -- mothers are penalized. And policy-makers’ solution for us? Get married or stay married, even if that forces us into relationships we don’t want in the first place or staying in relationships that are abusive to us or our children.

Stop penalizing mothers, and devaluing our children!
Support the right of women to raise our own children as full time moms or to also work outside of the home.

Your help and support is needed. For a start here is what I will do:

  • Sign the petition to Congress in support of the WORK and RISE acts and help us circulate it as widely as possible (online petition coming soon!).
  • Have my network, organization, religious organization and/or prominent individuals to sign or endorse the petition.
  • Circulate this call and the attached petition to my email lists and social networks.
  • Press my Congressional reps to support WORK & RISE and for the work of mothers to be included under Social Security.
  • Organize or participate in a public event in support of this campaign.
  • Be part of the national/international working group which has come together to work on this campaign.

Initiated by: Global Women’s Strike; Women of Color/GWS; Every Mother is a Working Mother Network

For info: 215-848-1120,

Sponsored by: Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), Benton Harbor, MI ● Bonnie Atwood, Richmond, VA ● Bonnie Macri, Salt Lake City, Utah ● DHS/DCFS – Give Us Back Our Children/Southern California & Philadelphia ● Energy Rescue, Omaha, NE ● Every Mother is a Working Mother Network/Philadelphia & Southern CA ● Family Advocacy Movement, Omaha, NE ● Family Connection Center, Cleveland, OH ● Global Women’s Strike, Guyana, UK, US ● Georgia Citizens Coalition on Hunger, Atlanta, GA ● International Women Count Network/Breastfeeding Network, UK & US ● Legal Action for Women, London, England ● LIFETIME, Oakland, CA ● Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Detroit, MI ● Military Families Speak Out/Southern California ● National Welfare Rights Union, Detroit, MI ● New Life Career Center, Hempstead, Long Island, NY ● Payday Men’s Network, UK, US ● Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER), Olympia, WA ● Queer Strike/UK and US ● Red Thread, Guyana, South America ● Shauna Gunderson, Santa Cruz, CA ● Single Mothers’ Self Defense, London, England ● Survival News, Boston, MA ● Survivors, Inc., Boston, MA ● US PROStitutes Collective/San Francisco, CA ● Welfare Warriors, Milwaukee, WI ● WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)/UK & US ● Women for Economic Justice Coalition (WEJ), Oakland, CA ● Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike/ UK & US