Being a mother isn't easy, but in some parts of the world, the role is made a little less stressful. Certain countries seem to totally get all the odds that are stacked against moms, and even try to offset the struggle. With that being said, here are four things the United States should learn from Canada where maternal rights are concerned, because what Canada's got going on should definitely be emulated — our mothers deserve it.
In sizing up what Canada has to offer, the United States pretty much fails its mothers across the board. For one, health care for mothers is truly lacking in quality here in the United States, especially for low-income families or families living in rural areas who have limited access to insurance offerings. Another huge issue? Working moms aren't guaranteed paid leave in the United States. Combine these two shortcomings together, add unaffordable child care options only, and how can you expect anyone to raise a safe, healthy family? These systematic, structural issues are accented by other, more specific ones that target different demographics to varying degrees. LGBT families in Canada, for example, are taken into account to a greater degree than they are in the United States.
Not convinced? Read the ideas below and see for yourself — and maybe imagine, just for a second, what it looks like to live in a society where mothers are protected, valued, and celebrated by public policy.
Canada Offers Paid Maternity Leave
Pregnant employees and new mothers are given 15 weeks of paid maternity leave, along with 35 weeks of parental leave post-birth or adoption, which can be split between parents. The bestowed benefits range anywhere from 55 to 80 percent of a salary and are dependent on the family's income status and need, so lower-income families could receiver greater aid. The United States' policy, on the other hand, assures 12 weeks of unpaid leave for so-called severe medical conditions, which include childbirth. (Gee, thanks.)
Canadian Mothers Are A Lot Less Likely To Die During Pregnancy
Pregnant women and mothers one year postpartum in the United States are three times more likely to die than mothers in Canada. Even more alarming? These numbers are actually rising, with a 27 percent increase in the U.S. from 2000 to 2015. Obviously, U.S. health care is failing its mothers somewhere along the line, and nobody seems to be picking up the slack or bothering to ask why it's happening.
Canadian LGBT Parents Don't Have To Adopt Their Own Children
2016's All Families Are Equal Act assured that Canadian parents don't have to suffer through cumbersome court engagements just to legalize their parenthood. Now, regardless of sperm or egg donors, the law "provide[s] that the parents are the birth parent and the birth parent's partner," no court order necessary.
Canada Is Working Towards Universal Child Care
Laws to secure funding universal child care in Canada are another recent step in the right direction. Though they may not take full effect for a few years, placing government funds into affordable child care programs means mothers can go back to work and earn their full salaries even sooner, bettering their families in the process.
When it comes to keeping mothers' needs at heart, the United States falls short in comparison to Canada. Looking to our neighbors to the north can help plot a path that makes things a whole lot easier on families, positioning them to thrive and grow in completely new ways. It's time for the United States to invest in women and children, and put its funding (and its laws) on the line.