Stay-at-home moms should be paid over $160,000 a year to care for their kids, study says

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Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has brought a lot of attention to the idea of implementing a universal basic income on America. His "freedom dividend" would pay every American $1,000 a month to spend as they choose.

In addition to helping Americans deal with a future in which the labor market will be upended by automation, this basic income could allow Americans to rethink what we see as work and nurture what Yang calls a "human-centered" economy.



"It would actually help build a more human-centered economy, what I call the trickle-up economy. Because it will allow more people to do the kind of work that they want to do — including people like my wife who's at home with our two young boys, one of whom is autistic," Yang said on a recent appearance on "The View."

"And right now the market values her work at zero," Yang continued. "The GDP values her work at zero. If you start putting resources into our hands that actually expands what we think of as work."

"Well now, you're talking about paying women for doing housework, doing work at home, being mothers," co-host Joy Behar responded. "That's a good idea."

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Yang's dividend would help financially compensate stay-at-home parents and incentivize others to choose parenting over a career.
However, according to Salary.com, $12,000 a year to stay-at-home parents is about $150,000 too little.

The company released a report that shows that stay-at-home moms (what about dads?) should be earning $162,581 a year for their labor. According to Salary.com, the average stay-at-home mom has a hybrid role that includes, but is not limited to the following professions:

Academic adviser

Accountant Buyer CEO

Coach

Day care center teacher

Janitor, SR

Judge

Marketing manager

Plumber

Photographer

Psychologist

Staff nurse

Teacher

Salary.com's estimate does a good job at showing the myriad skills that stay-at-home parents have to master to do their jobs. More importantly, it shows just how important they are not only to their families but to the community at-large.

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While the U.S. does very little to help new mothers, eleven countries in Western Europe have embraced the ideas of compensating parents.

According to Vox, here are countries with a "universal child benefit" and what they pay out to families with two children:

Luxembourg: $8,750

Belgium: $5,709

Austria: $5,704

Germany: $5,620

Ireland: $4,060

Sweden: $3,507

Finland: $2,883

Denmark: $2,794

Norway: $2,576

Netherlands $2,404

France: $1,779

It comes down to the basic question: What is work? Every day we go to our jobs to make money to take care of our families. Shouldn't those who are on the front lines of helping their families receive some sort of compensation as well?

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Culture

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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