Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/tr6cvs

The Build Back Better Plan Would Reduce the Motherhood Penalty

8 October 2021


MomsRising member Deborah Purce and her husband live in Seattle with their three children. 1 At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, their child care program closed for several months and Deborah had to find a way to manage her job while caring for her children, since her husband’s essential health care job did not have any flexibility. Five weeks of emergency paid leave helped. When she gave birth to her third child earlier this year, Washington State’s paid family and medical leave program provided sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave, replacing about 75 percent of her wages. She recently transitioned back to her prior job in a part-time position—with a lower income—because the cost of infant care is so high and she had exhausted her paid leave. Like so many families, the lack of affordable child care options, especially for young children, put Deborah and her husband in the position to choose between their finances and their family.


Julie Kashen
Julie Kashen is a senior fellow and Director for Women's Economic Justice at The Century Foundation with expertise in working families, economic mobility, labor, and poverty.

Jessica Milli
Jessica Milli, PhD is an economist with over 7 years of experience directing high-impact research projects and impact evaluations with a focus on social and economic equity. As the founder of Research 2 Impact, Dr. Milli utilizes a mixed-methods research approach that helps organizations, philanthropists, and policymakers leverage data and stories to drive social impact.


child care build back better