I first heard about the ‘Marshall Plan for Moms’ back in January when it launched, thanks to the support of 50 prominent women in the USA who called on the then-incoming Biden Administration to implement a bold 360-plan for mothers.
It carried a clever name, referring to the original Marshall Plan of 1948 — alongside a bold agenda that aimed to finally put a dollar figure on motherhood.
And it was first proposed by Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani, whose career and work promoting careers for women in tech I’ve admired for some time.
Now 50 prominent men have signed on, supporting the plan and calling on fathers to do more at home — which I’ll get to in a moment.
But first, to some of the powerful words the open letter announcing the plan included.
“Moms are the bedrock of society,” it read, via a full page ad in the New York Times.
“And we’re tired of working for free.
“We need a Marshal Plan for Moms — now.”
The plan includes offering direct payments to mothers, as well as passing long-overdue policies to address childcare, paid parental leave and pay equity. It also pleas for plans to safety reopen schools five days a week, and to create retraining programs to ensure women can fill job vacancies.
It comes in support of mothers of the United States who — like mothers all over the world — have had an incredibly difficult year. And it comes as many children are still out of school, for almost 12 months now. COVID has decimated the careers of mothers, notes the plan authors, including two million who have left the workforce in September alone, at four times the rate of men. “Millions more have been forced to cut back our hours or work around the clock to keep our jobs and be full-time caregivers.”
The NYT ad featured signatures from female business leaders, thinkers, activists and celebrities, including Tarana Burke, Eva Longoria, Amy Schumer, Whitney Wolfe Herd and more.
Late last week, the Marshall Plan for Moms issued a follow-up open letter. This time in The Washington Post, and this time signed by prominent men including Alexis Ohanian, Andrew Yang, Colin Farrell, Scott Galloway and Sundeep Madra.
This letter noted the role that men have to play and spoke of just how broken the system was.
“As partners and fathers, we need to start doing our share at home. Studies show we are failing.”
The male signatories said they agreed with President Biden and Vice President Harris, who called the crisis impacting mothers a “national emergency”. The answer, they say, is the Marshall Plan for Moms.
“When more than 30 years of progress for women in the workforce can be erased in 9 months, the underlying system is broken. It’s time to create a new structure that works for women, that respects and value their labor.
Reshma Saujani tweeted in response to the latest open letter that it shows “women aren’t standing alone: this is a broad coalition and a growing movement to finally value women’s work.
So will the Biden Administration make the changes this plan is calling for, within its first 100 days?
Biden did note the “national emergency” that mothers are facing in the United States. He said last month that he thinks “it’s time for schools to reopen safely” and promised to make it happen within 100 days. He spoke about how much he has been considering the “price” that children and their parents have been paying as schools have remained closed and important milestones — like in-person graduations — are cancelled.
But there’s a long way to go.
When asked by CNN if Biden had responded to the plan, Saujani replied that she knows Biden cares about mothers and has “no doubt that this administration will do the right thing and put together a Marshall Plan for Mothers.”