Driven by surprising data and punctuated with the raw stories of real working mothers, Jessica Shortall makes the impassioned case that the reality of new working motherhood in America is both hidden and horrible: millions of women, every year, are forced back to work within just weeks of giving birth. The United States is one of only nine countries with no national, paid maternity leave; the next-largest is Papua New Guniea. Shortall argues that the time has come for the U.S. to recognize the economic, physical, and psychological costs of this approach for working mothers and their babies, and to secure its own economic future by providing paid leave to all working parents.
Jessica Shortall is a social entrepreneur with a career as diverse as her curiosities. She has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a non-profit co-founder (The Campus Kitchens Project), a consultant to social enterprises, an early TOMS Shoes-er, and an advocate for LGBT rights (Texas Competes). She is the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work (Abrams, 2015). She holds a BA from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Oxford University, where she was a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship. She is a working mother of two who is currently hanging on for dear life.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
PL+US, Paid Family Leave for everyone in the US.
More on Maternity Leave from MomsRising:
- 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).
What You Can Do
- Read More in the Motherhood Manifesto »
- Share Your Personal Story About Maternity or Family Leave »
- See Model State Legislation »
- Join MomsRising Today »