After the women’s liberation movement, the 1980s were peppered with commercials like Enjoli’s “24 hour women.” Commercials like this solidified the message that women could and should do it all. Thus, the myth of the supermom was born. Fast forward 40 years, and women are still expected to do it all.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of schools and child care and when those institutions are no longer available, it’s mothers who fill in the gaps. Women are disproportionately impacted by COVID. They are more likely to quit their jobs, work from home, and take care of ill family members. When schools and child care centers close, it is mothers leaving the workforce to fill in. “In August and September, 865,000 women left work altogether; in September, there were 2.2 million fewer women in the labor force than a year earlier.”
Single mothers make up 22.3 percent of Iowa’s families and these moms face the greatest challenges of navigating the COVID pandemic. Without access to paid family leave, they are the ones leaving the workforce and relying on social support networks.
Iowa’s families cannot sustain this pandemic alone. Paid family leave must be a part of the next COVID relief bill. We need Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley to act now to pass a COVID relief bill that includes paid family leave