There are plenty of IRL (in real life) examples of how virtual advocacy participates in the cycle of policy formation. As a “case study” of sorts on how virtual advocacy can gain momentum and affect “real life” change, let’s explore the needs of modern day parents.
Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani penned an op-ed highlighting the sacrifices moms were making to keep the country running and calling for a bold, out of the box plan.
You may have heard of Girls Who Code (girlswhocode.com). It aims to close the gender gap in technology and was founded by Reshma Saujani, the first Indian American woman to run for Congress, in 2010. It has evolved from a non-profit, into a movement, and its team of advocates set a policy agenda that has paved way for state legislation. When the Coronavirus Crisis hit in 2020, Saujani penned the following op-ed about the need for legislation that would support one of society’s most crucial yet unpaid and under-supported job title: mom. From this Op-Ed, momentum gained for the grassroots campaign, Marshall Plan for Moms, which has since become MomsF1rst (https://momsfirst.us/about/). The Marshall Plan for Moms movement resulted in a resolution passed by the House of Representatives, Recognizing that the United States needs a Marshall Plan for Moms in order to revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce. After the passage of this resolution (which functions more as an act of support rather than working legislation), the American Rescue Plan was an initial key legislative goal. It has since been enacted: signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.
- Op-Ed by Saujani
- The grassroots campaign: Marshall Plan for Moms (has since become MomsF1rst)
- The resulting resolution was H.Res.121 – Recognizing that the United States needs a Marshall Plan for Moms in order to revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce.
- Read the full resolution here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-resolution/121/text?r=2&s=2
- The resolution’s summary on Congress.gov reads:This resolution declares that(1) the United States needs a Marshall Plan for Moms to revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce; and(2) mothers, especially mothers of color have been pushed to the brink of economic, social, and emotional collapse during the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic because of the existing economic and social inequalities women have long faced.The resolution also states that any relief and long-term recovery package to address the COVID-19 crisis must recognize and rebuild moms in the workforce by including certain policies such as
- establishing a robust paid leave plan;
- rebuilding and stabilizing the child care industry;
- providing necessary child poverty reduction tools for families’ economic security that include recurring child benefits and an expanded and improved child tax credit and earned income tax credit;
- establishing an expanded unemployment insurance program that benefits struggling workers, including those experiencing long-term unemployment;
- raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour or higher for all minimum wage workers; and
- providing access to mental health support for mothers.
Finally, the resolution declares that employers and policymakers must prioritize addressing the economic cliff facing mothers and make permanent the policies set forth in this resolution so that mothers are protected against any future economic calamities.
- The American Rescue Plan (ARP) of 2021 legislation details can be found on Congress. gov:
- ARP 2021 legislation is far-reaching in that it addresses a variety of concerns and allocates funding to a variety of departments (e.g. Department of Education, Department of Transportation). For example, ARP authorized the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), allocating $39.6 billion in education funds. Read more on the Department of Education’s website: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/arp.html.