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For Moms Everywhere: Congress Should Invest in Child Care Before the Next Mother’s Day

Resource May 6, 2022

Over the past two years, the pandemic has altered the landscape of motherhood, piling on even more new pressures and demands. Chief among those is the nationwide child care crisis: When the pandemic hit and child care programs across the country were forced to close their doors or reduce enrollment, it was overwhelmingly mothers who took on the additional caregiving responsibilities. As the U.S. celebrates the incredible work moms and caregivers do every day for their families, we must also acknowledge that the ongoing child care crisis is keeping women out of the workforce, curbing their earning potential, and severely limiting their career and personal choices.

As child care prices soar and quality care becomes even more difficult to find, women have quit their jobs at a higher rate than men. One report found that during the pandemic mothers took on the majority of child care responsibilities, spending an average of 7.1 hours per day caring for their children, in addition to their jobs, compared to 4.9 hours for fathers. Another found that the gender quit gap is widest in the states with the most child care disruptions.

The bottom line: Child care is essential for parents – especially mothers – to be able to work, but the current early learning and care system is not equipped to handle the demand. As a result, too many moms are being held back. Congress has the power to help solve America’s child care crisis by passing significant, sustained investments in early learning & care through budget reconciliation. 

  • According to a May report, the number one reason women left or changed jobs last year was a lack of accessible and affordable child care.
    • In fact, a total of 46% of mothers who remain unemployed left the workforce in 2021 due to child care issues.
    • And over half of working mothers (58%) say the stress and financial burden of trying to secure reliable child care has prompted them to consider leaving the workforce in recent months. 
    • One third of mothers report that child care issues are causing financial strain. 
  • Women with children under the age of 6 participate in the workforce at a rate of 66% compared to men with children in the same age group who participate at a rate of 94%. 
  • Reliable access to child care can generate an additional $79,000 in lifetime earnings for mothers. 
  • Single mothers who receive assistance for child care payments are nearly 40% more likely to maintain employment over two years than those who do not.
  • Essential industries were hit especially hard by the pandemic: Turnover rates were 43% higher among women with children under five than the rest of the health care workforce.
  • States with among the highest rates of child care disruptions, such as Maine and Rhode Island, saw women leaving the workforce at a 1.7% higher rate than men. 

POLLING: Our new polling found that if Congress were to pass an economic package, support for lowering the cost of childcare is on par with lowering prescription drug costs, and rivals addressing climate change.

Percentage of moms who support the following:

  • Lowering the cost of prescription drugs: 91%
  • Lowering the cost of child care for families: 90%
  • Addressing climate change by increasing the use of clean energy: 75%

Percentage of suburban moms who support the following:  

  • Lowering the cost of Prescription Drugs: 90%
  • Lowering the cost of child care for families: 89%
  • Addressing climate change by increasing the use of clean energy: 76%

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