by Margie Kelly, campaign communications director and mom
Let’s face it: becoming a mother does not put you on the fast track to attaining political power. Whether because society expects us to or because we want it that way (feel free to debate amongst yourselves), moms tend to focus on the needs of their children first, usually at the expense of career success, wealth, or social status — key ingredients for power.
Despite the promise that modern women can “have it all,” it’s the exception, not the rule that women with children reach the top of their professions or assume political leadership.
Given this backdrop, I’ve been thrilled to watch as the mom-powered movement to cast toxic chemicals out of the family home has rewritten the old power narrative.[pullquote]/ The outcry from frustrated moms across this country has created such a mighty racket, national retailers and elected officials have been forced to listen and change their ways./[/pullquote]
It’s moms who have done the homework and withheld their dollars, forcing industry to become accountable for the toxic chemicals in every day products we bring into our homes, from baby bottles to beverage cans. It’s moms who form the backbone of efforts to change state and federal laws so that chemicals have to be proven safe before being added to products. And it’s women under 50 (80 percent of whom are likely to be moms) who don’t trust the chemical industry.
They may not be swapping stock tips at the 9th hole or handing out plumb job assignments at the local whisky bar, but thanks to social media, overtaxed moms are going online to swap information and form networks. And guess what: because they make most household purchasing decisions, moms have become marketing executives’ most sought-after prize. It is estimated that the total U.S. mom spending power is more than 2 trillion dollars every year. That’s power.
[pullquote]/But changing the market — and keeping mom power focused exclusively on the purse — isn’t enough to rid our lives of toxic chemicals. We need to pressure Congress to change the laws that created the problem in the first place./[/pullquote] Right now, Congress is considering new legislation that would overhaul the disco-era Toxic Substances Control Act, and they need to hear from everyone, mom or not, to make sure they stay strong in the face of industry pressure to preserve the status quo.
And that’s a very good reason to support our partners at MomsRising — they are at the forefront of the mom power movement. MomsRising is committed to building “a nation where children, parents, and businesses thrive; and end discrimination against mothers.” Their campaigns for paid sick days, paycheck fairness, childrens’ healthcare and safer chemicals are making moms a force to be reckoned with in Washington D.C. and statehouses across the country.
We love MomsRising because they are effective and funny too. They’ve just launched a new video project that celebrates moms while building their power to change the world. The video is quite short and punchy, and features the mother of your choice in a faux news story as a winner of the “Mother of the Decade.” Watch it here and send along to your favorite mothers so that they star in a news story and on a movie marquee, and be celebrated by celebrities —including Michelle Obama.
And while those moms and people who love them are enjoying a quick video and spreading the word to their friends, they’ll be helping us build a stronger political movement for reforming the nation’s toxic chemical laws. Political power — it’s a much better Mothers Day gift than flowers and chocolates!