Policymakers at both the state and federal levels often argue for policies that they say working moms need. But many of these policies come at a real cost to both the moms and their employers. And, at the same time, they’re not necessarily what working moms want. How can both the private and public sectors support working moms?

September 16th was Working Parents’ Day. How much do you know about what working moms want? Let’s play “Two Truths and a Lie” and find out!

A. Baby benefits beat government dictates for women.

B. Working moms need federal government support for child care.

C. Greater workplace flexibility helps moms balance work and childcare needs.

Let’s take these statements one at a time: 

A. TRUE! Women aren’t interested in dictates on when and how they work. Instead, the way to support women is to give them better benefits. Many companies have already recognized this—infertility treatments, in particular, are increasingly covered by employer-provided insurance plans. Instead of it being something that only the “cream of the crop” company plans like those at Meta and Google cover, more companies are offering coverage including Target, Walmart, Comcast, Starbucks, Doordash, and Tractor Supply Company. 

This is a real and tangible way to support working women who want to become mothers. One in eight women of childbearing age suffer from infertility and the cost of a cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF), a common fertility procedure, can typically range from $15,00 to $20,000, with some treatments reaching above $30,000 and many women needing additional care or procedures.

B. FALSE! The Biden administration has repeatedly tried to impose childcare regulations in order to reduce costs and “strengthen” the childcare market through executive order or agency regulation. While those goals are laudable, government top-down regulations tend to decrease the availability of different childcare options and fail to actually drive down costs. In fact, nearly six in ten parents prefer informal child care over formal childcare centers, regardless of cost and location. 

Some families struggle to find accessible, quality, affordable child care. But instead of increasing government involvement in childcare programs, policymakers should recognize that many regulations on the childcare industry improve neither safety nor quality—instead, they increase the cost of compliance and thus reduce the number and variation of providers. Rolling back unnecessary regulations could reduce the cost of child care by up to $1,890 per year

C. TRUE! The Biden administration, and various states across the country, has taken aim at freelance and contractor workers in recent years out of “concern” for misclassification. However, the American freelance workforce is growing with over 65 million Americans now participating. While freelance and contract workers sacrifice stability and benefits, they gain flexibility and freedom over when, where, and how they work. This is particularly beneficial for working mothers and those with other family responsibilities such as an aging parent who needs help. The freedom of independent contractor work enables women to earn income while also supporting their other responsibilities. In fact today, women make up 52% of the freelance workforce. 

Bottom line: 

There are various ways that companies and policymakers can support working moms (or women who seek to become moms). But imposing government regulations is not the answer. Allowing the free market to recognize what women want and reducing regulations will offer women more options and opportunities to choose which path works best for them and their current (or future!) families.