Since Australia recently passed parental leave laws, America is the only developed country in the world that offers no parental leave with pay. What's the deal? Why is our system so broken?

I'll never forget the moment I stood on that beach in Mexico and listened to a woman from Canada explain that she got a year of paid maternity leave. A year. A year, people. Did you catch that? She got 55 weeks (35 shared with paternity leave) at 55 percent pay, and her job guaranteed.

Whoa.

Did you know that the United States of America, the good ol' USA, is the only industrialized nation to not mandate paid maternity leave? We join Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea as the only countries that do not promise their citizens some sort of paid leave.

For a graph that will rip your heart out (and should infuriate you), click here.

Did you know people in the U.K. get 280 days of paid leave? Most countries give at least three months of paid leave.

At least. We give none. Nothing. Zero days.

This is insane.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the poorest nations in the world — if not the very poorest — which nevertheless offers mothers 15 weeks off with full pay.

Check this out. Sharon Lerner of The Atlantic said it perfectly: "It's less widely understood just how globally out of whack we are. To get a sense, consider the countries we trail in terms of laws that support women's ability to physically recover from birth and bond with a child: Afghanistan, which has a 26 percent literacy rate and 9 million people living on less than one dollar a day, yet still manages to provide new mothers with 12 weeks off with pay; Djibouti, an African nation plagued by civil war and drought that is home to many nomadic herders and still manages to guarantee 14 weeks of paid maternity leave; and the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the poorest nations in the world — if not the very poorest — which nevertheless offers mothers 15 weeks off with full pay" (source).

Does America only care about companies? This is a basic human right. The care and bonding of a newborn baby is a basic need for the healthy continuation of our species.

Why is nobody talking about this?

Why aren't people outraged?

Ladies and gentleman, when the apparent "world leader" and "best country in the world" is hanging out practically alone in its refusal to provide basic rights of decency to its citizens, nobody should be sitting down. As many families (mine included) find themselves in seemingly unsolvable economic predicaments, we should be stomping and screaming and demanding that the Obama administration take action that will bring us in line with other developed countries (actually, in this case, many "under-developed" ones).

First of all, we need to start talking about this. Share articles. Read the data. Get people angry.

Miley Cyrus gets funky with a foam finger and the entire country goes nuts. Families don't receive a basic right afforded to citizens of almost every other country in the world, and I barely hear a word in protest.

Miley Cyrus gets funky with a foam finger and the entire country goes nuts. Families don't receive a basic right afforded to citizens of almost every other country in the world, and I barely hear a word in protest.

Talk to your leaders. Elect officials who are advocating paid family leave legislation.

Nobody's going to do anything until we get angry, and when only 16 percent of companies choose to pay their employees during family leave, it's clear we'll get no support from them, either.

We are going to have to get angry, and loud, and serious if we want change. You can start by signing this petition.

Sometimes there is simply no excuse for an action, and when nearly every other country has figured out how to provide this basic right to parents, the U.S. has no choice but to do the same.

When are we going to get tired of the rhetoric not matching reality? When are we going to wake up to the fact that all this nonsense about civil rights for all and "greatest country on earth" is often just a thin veil attempting to cover blatant injustices like this one?

Afghanistan, people. Afghanistan provides this and we don't?

It makes me sick. But what makes me sicker is that people will defend this through obstinate refusal to admit the "greatest country on earth" is often the most backward.

And we are the only ones who can do something about it.

More on civil rights

Mothers trapped in and out of the home
Selma Blair is breastfeeding! Fascinating!
How white people will ignore Obama's speech on Zimmerman

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