Motherhood is hard. I founded Hera when my first son was 2 and my daughter was barely 6 months old. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, overworked. And yet, I realized, I had it good. I had 6 months of paid maternity leave for both children before I left my corporate job. I had the support of my husband, a live-in au pair, and a local family daycare. Without this help, I would never had had the energy or courage to start Hera.
For me, equality for women is inextricably tied to support for mothers. When I was considering whether to leave my corporate job to start Hera, I looked around for role models: other young mothers who were also entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs. They were hard to find. Our predecessors in the feminist movement fought for equal treatment of men and women. We owe them a lot, but I strongly believe that when it comes to motherhood, equality is not enough. The cost of motherhood - the energy, the time, the toll it takes on our bodies - falls disproportionately on women and always will. Therefore, what society owes us is more than equal pay for equal work. Society owes us all of the support we need to take care of ourselves and to raise thriving children. And today, we are falling desperately short. Here are some of the sobering facts:
- The U.S. is the only G7 nation without a national law allowing access to abortion (source)
- The U.S. has by far the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation (3x higher than France, the next closest country) (source)
- Black women in the U.S. are 3x as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women (source)
- Despite our incredible wealth, the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world without a national paid maternity leave policy (source)
- Nearly 1 in 4 employed mothers in the U.S. return to work within 2 weeks of giving birth (source)
- Since the pandemic began, 1 in 10 American women with children under 18 have quit their job because of lack of child care (source)
- Low-income families in the U.S. spend 30-50% of their income on childcare (source)
- Public expenditure on early child education and care in the U.S. is less than 0.5% of GDP, compared to 1-2% in peer countries (source)
Hera gives 5% of its profits to nonprofit organizations who advocate for reproductive rights, health care equity, paid leave, and high-quality, federally-funded childcare. We are always looking for new worthy organizations to support, and new ways of building awareness and driving advocacy. Please reach out to me directly at any time with suggestions at email@example.com. Below is the list of organizations we currently support.
Elena Bridgers, Hera Founder & CEO