Clinton talks challenge of balancing work, family in Virginia event
In Loudoun County, Virginia, Clinton held a conversation with young parents about the challenges of balancing work and family. The average age in Loudoun County is just under 35 years old, and 73 percent of households with children in the county have two working parents. During the discussion, Clinton emphasized the importance of investing in early learning programs and making quality child care affordable for working families, as well as ensuring that families have good schools and affordable college as their kids grow up.
As First Lady of Arkansas and a young mother herself, Clinton helped introduce the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program, which provided resources for parents to better educate their children at home before they begin kindergarten. A new Hillary for America video today highlights Clinton’s lifelong record of fighting for children and families by emphasizing her involvement in bringing HIPPY to Arkansas. HIPPY now operates in 22 states, including Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
“Well, thank you all for coming and having this conversation with me. It’s clear that there are so many challenges facing young families today that we have to come to grips with. And we have to work together to try to find the best menu of options. Because there is just no ‘one-size-fits-all’. People have different needs – childcare needs, sometimes even more, as Shanda and I were just talking about, even more challenging with special needs kids and how we start early and provide that sort of support.
“For some it’s family leave and particularly the absence of paid family leave because that makes it more difficult to deal with everything from newborns to aging relatives. Others, it’s just a continuing stress of a workplace that doesn’t provide enough compensation with rising incomes. There still is a challenge with equal pay for women, which is real – it’s not made up.
“There are lots of concerns in the workplace that I’m hearing about increasingly – about the work day never ends, the schedules are often unpredictable. And even when you think you’re gaining some control over that work day it’s subject to so many variables that are out of your control and often end up throwing big monkey wrenches into what should be your family time and your efforts to try and organize and stick with that.
“So I hear about this all over the country, and I really want to talk about it and hear from you more than me talking. Because there are some obvious, maybe even typical, responses, but I’m trying to get a much broader view about what will work. These are issues that I’ve worked on for a really long time going back to my own life as a mother, a daughter, and some of the challenges there, but also in the work that I’ve done for the Children’s Defense Fund and other ways of trying to figure out how we have a more cohesive and frankly welcoming set of expectations and supports for families in today’s world.
“Because, it’s just harder I think. It’s just my take. I think costs are greater. Everything from commuting time to feeling like if you take that vacation day, you’re going to be viewed as slacking off. I mean they are just–they are cultural as well as economic and structural challenges, so I’m just very interested in hearing what all of you might have to say.”
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