A coalition of celebrities and advocates, led by Girls Who Code, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Tuesday, calling on President Joe Biden to establish what they call a “Marshall Plan for Moms” during his first 100 days in office.
The proposed plan includes implementing a short-term monthly stipend to pay moms for their “unseen and unpaid” labor, which has increased for many during the pandemic. In addition to the short-term stipend, the plan includes passing “long overdue policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity.”
The ad was signed by 50 prominent women, including Gabrielle Union, #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, Amy Schumer, Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore and Planned Parenthood Federation of America president and chief executive officer Alexis McGill Johnson.
“Every mom I know is exhausted,” Girls Who Code founder, Reshma Saujani, tells Yahoo Life. “When schools closed, we became teachers, nannies, tech support, cooks. Everything. All while working full-time jobs. So many women left their jobs completely. We’re leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. It’s a national crisis. And so today, an amazing diverse coalition of women including myself, Julianne Moore, Gabrielle Union, Amy Schumer, Whitney Wolfe Herd, Jenn Hyman, Eva Longoria and others ran an ad in the New York Times. We’re calling on President Biden to implement a 360-degree plan that gets women back to work that includes basic income, paid leave, retraining programs, school reopening plans and more.”
Reactions on social media have been mostly positive, with several calling it a “great” plan and some saying this is “long overdue.” A single mom on Twitter wrote that “for once, mothers can obtain stability while having sustainability.” Another Twitter user wrote: “I am so happy to see this support for recognizing and remunerating women’s unpaid work, which has surged in the pandemic.”
However, some argue that the plan should be more inclusive. One Twitter user wrote: “Make it for caregivers of all kinds,” including stay-at-home fathers and grandparents. Another Twitter user wrote that while he’s for “expanding certain programs and stuff to further equality,” he calls an economic payment based on gender “sexist,” adding: “There are plenty of men who lost their jobs, too, and there are plenty of different family situations that your plan does not account for.”
In December 2020, Saujani wrote an op-ed for The Hill, calling for a “means-tested” $2,400 monthly payment to moms. With this latest ad, the group of women are trying to “elevate this issue for policymakers, who can decide how best to implement it,” explains Saujani. “The point is that we need to do something. We need to say that we value women’s labor and that women are not America’s social safety net.”
Saujani tells Yahoo Life that the women who signed the ad are hoping to appeal to President Biden directly and are calling on his administration to “research and implement” a Marshall Plan for Moms. “The truth is, we know that the President cares about moms, that he understands how we’ve been impacted,” says Saujani. “He’s already talking about issues like pay equity and paid leave. And I have faith that he’ll do the right thing and support the moms who’ve kept this economy going, unseen and unpaid, for so long.”
The coalition’s next steps are to continue talking about and advocating for a Marshall Plan for Moms, according to Saujani. “We have to get people to start naming the problem, calling it what it is: a crisis that is disproportionately affecting mothers,” says Saujani. “We can’t change what we can’t name.”
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