Lack of paid family leave, support at work partly to blame for 30-year low in fertility rates: Experts

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — When sociology professor Caitlyn Collins set out to interview 135 middle-class women in Sweden, Germany, Italy and the U.S. about how they make motherhood work with their careers, she was surprised by what set American women apart.“Moms in the U.S. stand apart from these other women in how guilty and stressed and conflicted they are. Of course, moms everywhere feel work-family conflict, but what is unique about the American mom, and this is the most heartbreaking part of what I found in my study, is that American moms blame themselves for this work-family conflict,” Collins told ABC News. “They think if they try a little bit harder or read the right parenting book, or adopt the right scheduling approach to their family’s everyday lives, that things would be better and they would be able to keep their head above the tidewaters.”“Women are blaming themselves as individuals for something that is a deeply structural and societal problem,” added Collins, who wrote about her findings in the forthcoming book “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.”The financial and emotional obstacles mothers face were brought to the fore this week after a new report found that American women aren’t having enough babies to replace the current population, and the nation’s total fertility rate has hit a 30-year low. Total fertility rates represent the expected number of lifetime births per 1,000 women, given current birth rates by age.But experts like Collins weren’t surprised. They say the lack of mandatory paid family leave, supportive workplace policies for mothers and the dearth of affordable childcare, housing and higher education have all contributed to the decline.“There are real demographic consequences for not supporting families,” Collins said. “We are horrifyingly far behind. The U.S. is one of the most family-hostile countries across the world, which is really sad. We talk a lot about families sort of being the backbone of our society, but we don’t support that with any material policies that would actually enable people to reconcile their work and family lives.”The nation’s total fertility rate was 16 percent below the level for a population to replace itself in 2017, a National Vital Statistics report published this week found. Only two states — South Dakota and Utah — had total fertility rates above replacement levels. The gap between South Dakota, which had the highest rate, and Washington, D.C., which had the lowest rate, was 57 percent.Total fertility rates in the U.S. have been declining for years and women are generally giving birth for the first time later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Part of the age increase for first-time mothers is due to the decline in teenage pregnancies. But, in general, women are waiting longer to have children too.Raising a child in the U.S. is expensive. In its recent “Cost of Raising a Child” report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that middle-income, married parents of a child born in 2015 could expect to spend $233,610 on food, housing, and other necessities to raise that child through age 17. The estimate did not take into account college tuition costs, and it rose to $284,570 when adjusted for projected inflation.Economic uncertainty and student loan debt are two factors that impact women’s decisions about when to start families, according to Dr. Karen Guzzo, the associate director of the Center for Family & Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University. Guzzo said demographers expected to see fertility rates bounce back as the country recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, but that hasn’t happened.“They really haven’t recovered as much as we had expected, and I think that suggests a lot about how people feel in terms of their own personal lives and how secure they feel. It’s not just the global or national economic or GDP numbers, it’s, ‘Can I pay my bills, can I pay my student loans, can I buy a house, is my job secure? Do I have a strong relationship and can I maintain that?’ So people go through a lot of uncertainty,” Guzzo told ABC News. “I really think that those characteristics haven’t improved as much over the last 10 years, and that’s probably what’s going on here.”Lack of federally mandated, universal paid family leave is also a factor. Currently, companies, states and cities can decide their own policies, which leads to a disparity. Women can’t count on having paid maternity leave if they switch jobs, for example, said Kate Ryder, the CEO and founder of Maven, a digital clinic for women.“Without federally mandated paid leave and with about 50 percent of babies born per year on corporate health plans, employers are the ones who are on the hook for the lack of government support and therefore in the driver’s seat on this fundamental health care issue in women’s health,” Ryder told ABC News via email. “They select coverage implications and leave policies and what types of support they’re giving, so two women who graduated from the same class in college but pursued two different career paths will have dramatically different maternity experiences based on the decisions of the HR/benefits teams of the employers they work for.”The U.S. is an outlier in not offering mandatory paid family leave nationwide; nearly every other country in the world guarantees some kind of paid leave in weeks or months, according to the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA.Besides less than a handful of countries, “the rest of the industrialized world — and really, the rest of the world — understands that supporting families and having children be raised in healthy environments is for the benefit of all of us,” Collins said.Childcare costs are another huge factor. Full-time childcare in a daycare center for a child between birth and 4 years old costs more, on average, than in-state college tuition, according to a 2016 Care Index report produced by New America, a bipartisan think tank. A family earning the average median income in the U.S. spends about one-fifth of their household income on childcare for one child, the report found; for women making minimum wage, full-time childcare costs 64 percent of their income.“We don’t have something like high-quality, universal and affordable childcare, and the cost of outsourcing to the market in a liberal welfare state like ours is the equivalent or more than many women’s salaries,” Collins said. “What that means is they leave the workforce, and that has absolutely disastrous consequences for women over the course of their lives as it relates to their pensions, their lifetime earning potential, all sorts of factors. It hurts all women, but I think it hurts poor women especially.”For families with one child considering having a second, that calculus can be even more difficult.“People think, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t afford to have a second kid. I’m strapped, I can’t even afford daycare as it is, so having another kid is just too much,’” Guzzo said. “I think the paid leave and childcare costs are important when people are having their first one, but I think it’s probably even more important in whether you go on to have that second or third kid. People are saying, ‘I don’t know, it was really tough to manage the first time around, or I didn’t get to spend enough time off with my kid, or I had to go back to work too early or my spouse didn’t get any time off and this is too much.’”There is also a myth that women who leave their jobs after having children are choosing to “opt out” and be stay-at-home moms by choice. While that may be the case for some, many others leave careers they love because of a lack of support in the form of flexible schedules, paid time off and sick leave to care for children and the ability to work from home when needed.“These highly educated, highly successful working mothers are being pushed out of unsupportive workplaces that haven’t adapted to the reality that all workers have external responsibilities — especially family responsibilities — that need to be accommodated if what we want is a replacement rate for fertility, and a robust economy that is internationally competitive,” Collins said. “Without these supports, we do see a brain drain.”That lack of understanding about how hard it is to work and parent isn’t just something that women experience; companies are caught by surprise, too, Ryder said.“Forty-three percent of new moms drop out of the workplace after having a baby when more than 75 percent have said they wanted to stay,” Ryder said. “Aside from the emotional and physical impact of motherhood, two other major contributing factors include an unsupportive work environment and insufficient preparation. It’s not just new mothers that need to prepare for the return-to-work transition, it’s managers too, and that preparation should begin as soon as a woman finds out she’s pregnant.”According to a Maven Clinic white paper, letting mothers walk out the door is costly for companies as well, citing figures that state that replacing an employee after childbirth can cost between 20 percent to 213 percent of her salary.“For a woman who returns to work and then ends up quitting within the first year, the cost to an employer can reach six figures, taking into account absenteeism, health care and turnover costs,” Ryder explained.All three women agreed that changing policies at the workplace and federal level could make a huge difference.Guzzo said policies that make college, housing and childcare more affordable could go a long way toward getting the U.S. fertility rate back to the replacement level.“The U.S. can recover from this. A lot of people are delaying having kids, but they’re not saying never. In the long-term, this might not be this sort of huge crisis,” Guzzo said. “There are all these things we can do to reduce some of that financial insecurity and uncertainty young adults feel that would go a long way to helping our fertility rates.”Collins agreed.“It’s not rocket science. It’s whether we as a country have the political will to support families,” she said. “This is a political issue and it needs political solutions, not the assumption that women can solve these things as individuals on their own. And I think if women understood that — that their stress, their guilt, their conflict, is not their own fault it’s actually a political issue that the government needs to be involved in, we would take some of that guilt off mothers.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

A very gay May morning

first_imgOxford’s traditional May Day celebrations went off without serious incident, despite several people ignoring police recommendations and jumping from Magdalen Bridge. 8,500 people packed onto the bridge on Saturday morning to hear Magdalen College Choir welcome in the dawn at 6am. 12,000 are thought to have been in the nearby area at this time. Traditionally, Oxford students celebrate May Day by jumping into the river Cherwell, but this has been discouraged in recent years because of safety fears, after one person was paralyzed. A two-metre high security fence failed to stop over a dozen from taking the plunge. Thames Valley Police acknowledged that “no one was injured” but admitted, “ideally we would have preferred it if no one had jumped.” Matthew Balaam, who had wanted to do the jump for over ten years, said, “it was fantastic, but it did hurt.” One male jumper landed on the concrete but was not seriously injured. However, Oxford City Councillor Mick McAndrews told Cherwell, theat despite being a “nice, Oxford tradition” it did need to be “properly policed”. Currently, a private security company employed by the Council provides the bulk of the security on May Day. “The money spent on stewarding seems to have been a waste,” he explained. Magdalen College Porter, Bob Porter, agreed.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004last_img read more

In Short

first_imgBB’s Facebook pageBritish Baker now has a page on Facebook. Post pictures, news, and ’Like us’ on the new page 180723008662958.Sat fats pledgeThe Department of Health has not ruled out adding a saturated fats ’pledge’ for food manufacturers to its Responsibility Deal. A spokesperson told BB: “Sat fats are on our radar and the Responsibility Deal is involved in ongoing discussions with industry on these matters.” The Food and Drink Federation anticipates that the Responsibility Deal Food Network will consider sat fats next year.Burton’s strike ballotWorkers at Burton’s Foods in Blackpool, who make Jammie Dodgers and Maryland Cookies, were being reballoted over strike action as BB went to press, after rejecting a 6% pay deal that had been endorsed by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union.Cocoa replacementTate & Lyle’s new cocoa replacement Carcao could help bakers make ingredients cost savings, according to the company. “In light of volatile cocoa pricing and supply issues, many food manufacturers are looking for solutions that reduce the cocoa content of their products as a means of controlling recipe costs,” said a spokeswoman.Topping piesDoncaster-based firm the Topping Pie Company has launched its first range of pre-packed pies and quiches aimed at the major multiples after investing in new packaging equipment. The company has previously only supplied deli counters with ’loose’ pies and quiches.last_img read more

Long Island Blizzard: Updated Forecast Calls for 18 Inches of Snow

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo was updating residents on the state’s plan to battle the first winter storm of the season, forecasters upgraded their projected snowfall total for parts of Long Island to up to 18 inches.That update comes after meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Upton office for the last day have predicted up to a foot of snow for the region. However, the agency throughout the week has warned that the storm’s track was uncertain meaning forecasts could change, either for the better or worse. Officials have said that their major concern with this Nor’easter is the potential for flooding in coastal areas. Parts of the Island are also under a coastal flooding warning.“Flooding can do tremendous tremendous damage, as we’ve learned the hard way,” Cuomo said.Also causing angst among officials is near-zero visibility on roadways due to expected blowing snow and whipping winds.The duel effect of potentially serious flooding in low-lying areas and heavy snow throughout means municipalities will have to deploy resources to battle the storm on many fronts.Cuomo’s message to residents was to stay at home because stalled or abandoned vehicles put first responders in harm’s way.The massive Nor’easter is threatening much of the mid-Atlantic with upwards of two feet of snow. More than 4,500 flights have been cancelled due to inclement weather. Area airports have also begun cancelling flights, including LaGuardia Airport (700) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (350). Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said he expects all airlines to waive rebooking fees.All flights out of Long Island MacArthur Airport will be cancelled by 7:35 p.m. Friday and will resume again Sunday afternoon, but departure times vary depending on airline. While officials are warning residents about traveling by car, the Long Island Rail Road has not made plans to halt operations but could modify or suspend service depending on snow accumulation and if sustained winds become greater than 39 mph.Cuomo said agencies have beefed up their ranks as they brace for the storm, including PSEG Long Island, which has nearly 1,000 personnel on standby.Hundreds of pieces of snow-fighting equipment is headed down to help battle the storm, including more than 1,000 operators and supervisors, dozens of plows, and a half-dozen vacuum trucks outfitted with sewer jets destined for LI to help relieve flooding.“You hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” Cuomo said. “But we are preparing for a significant occurrence.”Officials in Nassau County echoed Cuomo’s plea to heed warnings.“We are asking our motorists, should the storm stay on track, please do not take to the roads.”Mangano urged residents to use its non-emergency hotline in non-life-threatening circumstances. The number is 1-800-315-5153. The hotline will be activated 8 p.m. Friday.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone encouraged residents to shelter in place, saying “this is a real storm that does pose risks.” Despite the bleak outlook he chose to look on the bright side.“It is fortunate that this storm is hitting at this time, on a weekend” when people will be at home and not traveling to work, Bellone said. Suffolk’s non-emergency hotline is 631-852-4900. SICK OF ALL THE COLD WEATHER? #BLIZZARD2016 GOT YOU DOWN? MAKE SOME EXTRA MONEY WHILE BOOKING TRAVEL PLANS FOR YOU, YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY TO WARM, EXOTIC DESTINATIONS ALL AROUND THE WORLD!Download the “Questions Answered” Agent eBook:last_img read more

Granit Xhaka describes the type of player Arsenal should be signing this transfer window

first_imgAdvertisement Granit Xhaka describes the type of player Arsenal should be signing this transfer window Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 24 Jul 2019 2:04 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link13Shares Commentcenter_img Granit Xhaka knows what Arsenal need to look for in the transfer market (Picture: Getty Images)Granit Xhaka has outlined the kind of players Arsenal should be targeting this summer, saying that he needs team-mates that can make an impact on the mental side of the game.The Gunners are having a slow summer in the transfer market, operating under a limited budget, thought to be around £45m.Gabriel Martinelli has arrived from Ituano and both William Saliba and Dani Ceballos are expected to be signed, but Saliba will return to Saint-Etienne on loan.Unai Emery’s side have been linked to a string of names, including Wilfried Zaha, Kieran Tierney, Everton Soares, Nicolas Pepe and Malcom, but none have come to fruition as yet.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTXhaka, who played the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 2-2 friendly draw with Real Madrid on Tuesday, has been clear to point out that footballing talent is not enough to make the difference at the Emirates.‘It is not only important to take players who can play,’ said Xhaka. ‘In my opinion, you have to take players that have a good mentality as well.‘They push the team in a good [moment] but as well in a bad [moment].’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityThe Swiss midfielder will be one of five captains at Arsenal this season, a system that Emery likes to employ to encourage leadership throughout the team.Xhaka has gone even further, though, claiming that even five skippers is not enough in one squad.‘You need more than five [captains],’ said the 26-year-old. ‘All the players have to be captains on the pitch.‘It is not the guys who have the armband. He looks good on the pitch because he has the armband but in the end we have to work & we have to speak all together on the pitch.’MORE: Sam Allardyce sends warning to Arsenal over Wilfried Zaha transfer moveMORE: Arsenal not giving up on Kieran Tierney transfer deal Advertisementlast_img read more

Volleyball hits the road as lineup questions linger

first_imgThis weekend the men’s volleyball team have a pair of matches on the road, first on Friday at No. 11 UC Irvine and then on Saturday at UC San Diego.It’s fair to say that neither the Trojans’ nor the Anteaters’ seasons have begun as expected. Before MPSF play, USC (1-7, 1-5 MPSF) was ranked 12th in the nation, and UC Irvine (2-6, 1-5) fourth. Yet on Friday, the two teams are facing off to avoid the bottom of the league and perhaps keep playoff hopes alive.Friday night’s matchup at the Bren Center means a great deal for the Trojan’s playoff push.The season is still young. In fact, USC is still trying to figure out its starting lineup.“Every game, we always get some adjustments here or there,” sophomore opposite Jon Rivera said. “I don’t think we’ve played a game where we’ve stuck with the same lineup.”Many of the inconsistencies in the Trojans’ lineup can be chalked up to injuries.At the setter position, junior Michael Mullahey remains sidelined with a knee injury, while Lewis University-transfer sophomore Gert Lisha has played only one match since recovering from a hand injury. For now, Lisha and fellow sophomore Jack Yoder are competing for the job.“I expect [Lisha] to compete for the role,” head coach Jeff Nygaard said. “Just like anyone else, I don’t believe in just giving it to a person because that doesn’t teach them anything about being a good volleyball player.”Lisha brings much experience to the court. Last year, he appeared in 26 matches for a Lewis team that lost in the NCAA finals. In 2013, he played internationally with his native Albania.At outside hitter, the Trojans are bouncing between juniors Christopher Orenic and Lucas Yoder.The 2016 position seems to remain up for grabs, as they both have sputtered out of the gates. Orenic is hitting .143, and Lucas Yoder is not much better at .191.At opposite, at least, it seems that the Trojans have found a rising star. Jon Rivera has started every game this year and last week had a career-high 23 kills versus Pepperdine, which he followed up with a strong 13-kill, five-dig performance against Stanford.The Men of Troy have been one of the worst blocking teams in the MPSF this year totaling 55.0 blocks while allowing 101.0 to opponents.Whereas the Trojans’ poor start can be traced to injury and youth, the Anteaters returned five starters from last year’s MPSF Tournament-winning team — Tamir Hershko, Kyle Russell, Jason Agopian, Andrew Benz and Michael Saeta.Two of those veterans, senior middle blocker Jason Agopian and junior opposite Tamir Hershko, made the 2015 First-Team All-MPSF.This year, the two continue to put up staggering numbers, which makes UC Irvine’s slow start all the more perplexing. Hershko leads the team with 4.07 kills/set and hits .302, and Agopian tags on an additional 1.81 kills/set with a .436 hitting percentage.On Saturday, the Trojans take on a UC San Diego (3-7, 0-4) team that has not won in MPSF play since 2014 when it went 2-22. Junior outside hitter Ian Colbert recorded back-to-back double-doubles for the Tritons last week and then in a third match versus No. 5 Hawaii matched a career-high 19 kills.Aside from Colbert’s individual performance last week, the Tritons have attacked poorly. As a team, they are hitting .198 for the season. Sophomore opposite Tanner Syftestad, who is second on the team with 65 kills, has also committed 45 errors and is hitting .112.last_img read more