EMWM began in response to welfare “reform” which ignored the enormous amount of work mothers do, in this instance mothers with the least. It ignored the importance of the nurturing relationship and bonding between mothers and children and in so doing made the case that mothers, instead of having the time and the support to care for our own children, be forced to take any job outside the home and our children placed in the care of strangers. This devalued the work of all mothers, in particular those with the least resources, and demeaned the caring relationship between mother and child. It treated our children like a nuisance that gets in the way of what is really important — a job outside the home. Our views reflect the reality of millions of mothers and other caregivers whose contributions are devalued, and the thousands of low-income mothers who are punished in welfare legislation for being mothers.
Our roots are in the welfare rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and in the International Wages for Housework Campaign (WFH) which has campaigned for recognition and payment for caring work since 1972. We fought for and won a resolution in the Platform for Action of the 1977 US Conference on Women in Houston Texas (a conference mandated by Congress) that opposed discrimination against mothers, and proposed that welfare be called a wage. That resolution went to the Carter Administration to be implemented as was its mandate, but with the subsequent change in administrations it never was. We opposed the Family Support Act of the late 1980’s for all of the above stated reasons.
Please see Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee for more information on our history, work and perspective.