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Let’s talk about family values, y’all. I’m not talking about the so called “family values” pushed by the religious right. This isn’t some anti-marriage-equality Focus on the Family nonsense that keeps families from accessing legal rights. And it’s not about pressuring hetero couples to maintain gender norms for the good of the children, nor is it about taking reproductive choices away from people. No, the anti-feminists have falsely laid claim to the political realm of the family for too long.

Families are important, and family values, real family values, are feminist values. To prove it to you, here’s a list of five family-forward policies feminist are pushing for and taking action on–and way that you can join in the work.

It's a cute baby in a ruffly dress, kinda sad or confused facial expression, tongue slightly out of mouth

Please enjoy this marginally relevant stock photo of an adorable baby.

1. Universal Childcare

I have personally known a heartbreakingly high number of women who were prevented from moving toward financial independence–whether through a job or furthering their education–because of the cost of childcare. The effects of high childcare costs hit parents looking for low wage work the hardest. Think about it; if you’re earning minimum wage, how can you afford to pay someone else minimum wage to care for your children while you’re working, while also covering the cost of transportation to and from work, not to mention basic needs costs like rent, food, and other expenses? Affordable childcare is a huge reason that single mothers are hit so hard by poverty, but it affects all families living in poverty.

DC, where I live, currently has a coalition organizing for universal childcare. Find out if there’s a movement in your locality, and join them!

a mother and baby, she might be wearing a hospital gown- tey're in a bed with a pale blue blanket, both have eyes closed, heads touching

Is this post a thinly veiled excuse to post photos of babies? Probably not, but I’ll do it anyway!

2. Paid Family Leave

It is absolutely ridiculous that we don’t have paid family leave in the United States yet. This is so basic. Sometimes our family members are ill or injured or adjusting to adoption or, you know, newborn, and require our time and attention. It’s good for society if families can take care of each other at times of need, and especially good for people who’ve just given birth to be able to care for their infants and recuperate themselves. We’re behind much of the rest of the world on this one, and changing it will make life better not just for women, but for everyone.

Again, you can search and join in on organizing efforts in your area. DC’s paid family leave movement is here. Sign the petition here.

the pink #standwithPP speech bubble graphic that people are putting on their facebook profile pics

Do you?

3. Reproductive Healthcare Access

Reproductive organs are one to the main means by which people acquire families. So it should come as a no brainer that reproductive health is hugely important for family well-being. People who can get pregnant benefit from choosing when, how often, and with whom to do so. And affordability is a big factor in access to reproductive healthcare.

Check out Barbie’s recent post on Planned Parenthood funding for some action items.

a child in a hat and coat holds a sign that says "Respeta mi mama!

Let’s respect mothers, and all minimum wage workers.

4. A Livable Minimum Wage

Two thirds of minimum wage workers are women; the fight for a livable minimum wage is a women’s issue. And being able to support a family on a full time wage is, of course, good for families. The minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation (let alone rent costs in major cities), and US minimum wage workers aren’t being paid a wage that’s fair or dignified. We can change that.

Check out the Fight for 15 campaign for ways to take action.

a child holds a sign that says "Black Lives Matter"- with other protesters in the background. Black and white photo.

5. The Movement for Black Lives

Mass incarceration and police violence are big feminist issues. Mass incarceration affects women who are incarcerated, and it affects women whose family members are incarcerated–emotionally, financially, and in all sorts of ways. Trans women of color are subjected to horrifying levels of police violence. Check out the #SayHerName hashtag on twitter to see that police violence is an issue for women.

The Campaign Zero website has tons of policies you can advocate to end mass incarceration, proposed by a some dedicated activists in the Movement for Black Lives.

Alright, feminist friends- go visit those links and do the work to make these feminist dreams for our families into a reality!