The Motherhood Manifesto: A Call to Maternal Arms.
With the words, "Republican National Convention 2004" across the screen, "Manifesto" shows an excerpt from Bush's presidential nomination acceptance speech in New York City three years ago. As the president noted that two-thirds of American mothers now work outside the home, he said: "This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, to support your family and have a rewarding career. And government must take your side."
That's a quote from the 2004 Republican presidential candidate.
That's what's remarkable about "Manifesto," whose title harkens back to college days of debating political theory or studying Karl Marx. The documentary, produced by the mothers' advocacy group MomsRising, makes a compelling, bi-partisan appeal to viewers to lobby federal officials to mold the American workplace into a place that's friendly, not hostile, to families. It goes out of its way to show support from across the political spectrum. In addition to highlighting Bush's acknowledgment that government should play a role in helping working mothers, the film features Republican businessman Jim Johnson, who radically changed his company's policies to offer flex-time and benefits for part-timers to support his employees who have family obligations. While these issues are typically associated with Democrats, "Manifesto" makes the argument that the policies for which they're advocating would not only help American families, but would also help American businesses bolster their bottom line.
With a six-point agenda, "Manifesto"-- which also has a companion book of the same name -- weaves a story about contemporary American life that you don't see in many parenting magazines: That when a woman becomes a mother, she is more likely to earn less than a father, that in some states she can be the victim of maternal discrimination, and that if she's a college graduate, she could potentially be losing $1 million in earnings over a lifetime. And to top it off -- the documentary, which claims that American parents work 500 more hours a year than did the previous generation -- portrays the United States as significantly lagging behind other industrialized nations when it comes to mandated policies that support families, from the childcare arena, to paid parental leave and sick time.