The U.S. is one of just three countries on the globe with no guarantee of paid maternity leave. We also have no federal policy on paid family or sick leave. That puts mothers—particularly those earning low incomes—at a disadvantage in the workplace.
The gender wage gap has been a topic of interest for some time, so while you may not be surprised that women still earn 78 percent of what their white male counterparts earn, here’s something you may not know: New Mexican women who work full time lose a combined total of almost $2 billion every year due to the wage gap. That’s $2 billion—with a ‘B’—and it doesn’t even include what women who work part time are losing. If New Mexico’s working women had $2 billion more to spend every year not only would fewer of the state’s children live in poverty, but the state’s economy would improve. That’s money that goes towards rent, food and gas for families that are barely making it. This should concern policymakers in a state where 106,993 households are headed by women, 37% of those households have incomes that fall below the poverty line, and 29% of our children are born into poverty.