How We Launched
A letter from Marshall Plan for Moms Founder & CEO Reshma Saujani
Marshall Plan for Moms started out as an idea – an angry op-ed, in fact. Nearly a year into the pandemic, with schools and daycares still shuttered (even as bars re-opened), millions of women had been pushed out of the labor force, erasing 30 years of progress overnight. As is so often the case, moms of color were disproportionately impacted. Moms’ mental health was suffering as burnout rates skyrocketed. Every mom I knew was in crisis, and yet no one was doing anything about it. We needed a plan.
Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought so; the op-ed went viral overnight. As the groundswell of support for a Marshall Plan for Moms grew, we took out a full-page ad in the New York Times signed by celebrities, activists, and business leaders. An open letter calling on Congress to pass long overdue policies like paid leave, affordable child care, and pay equity, and to send direct payments to moms, who had seen their paid labor at work replaced by unseen, unpaid caregiving and domestic labor at home.
The ad took off like lightning, making headlines and instantly garnering tens of thousands of petition signatures from moms and allies across the country. I knew we couldn’t stop there; and so I formally founded Marshall Plan for Moms, as a new non-profit organization dedicated to helping moms thrive – at home, and work.
In the last year, we have worked tirelessly on a broad range of initiatives to fight for moms, from developing a playbook for employers on how to create mom-friendly workplaces, to releasing a bi-partisan poll demonstrating broad support for policies like paid leave and affordable child care. We have partnered with leaders in the US House and Senate, state legislators and city governments nationwide on Marshall Plan for Moms legislation. Most recently, my book, Pay Up, brought these critical issues to a new audience of women and business leaders, challenging our thinking on what women’s empowerment at work looks like.
Today, we are one of the leading organizations fighting for the public and private sector policies moms need to thrive. Given the lack of legislative action on the issues that mean the most for working moms, it has become clear that we cannot wait for Congress to grow a heart. Moms need help now. So while we continue to advocate in Washington in coalition with our peers, in the near term Marshall Plan for Moms will focus on driving private sector action, around three priorities:
- Expanding Child Care Benefits.
- Delivering Gender Neutral Paid Parental Leave.
- Eliminating the Motherhood Penalty.
As the “Great Resignation” rages on, we find ourselves in a moment in which the work-life compact is being fundamentally re-written. Businesses eager to win the war for talent are rethinking how they address the needs of women and families – not just at the senior levels, but for all their employees. They know that creating workplaces that work for moms is not just about doing the right thing, it’s a business imperative. To seize on this moment, we’ll be working from the top down, convening CEOs and corporate leaders to drive policy action on our priority issues, and from the bottom up, bringing together moms and allies to fight for change within their organizations.
At the highest level, our ambition is to create a world where women have choices. Where they can move in and out of the workforce over the course of their lives without penalty. Where “having it all” does not have to mean “doing it all.” Let’s create that world together.
Thank you for being a part of this journey.