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Stress, low pay take toll on military moms (MSNBC News)


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Child care is not keeping up with longer deployments, report says


WASHINGTON - Mothers in the U.S. military are stressed, poorly paid and need more help caring for their children,
according to a report issued by Congress on Friday.

Nearly half of all women in the active-duty military have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and 24,475 women are there
now, the report by the Joint Economic Committee said. Yet child-care services are not keeping up with longer and more
frequent deployments, said the report, released to coincide with Mother’s Day. And women get only 6 weeks of leave after
the birth of a child, it found.  “Making sure military mothers have the quality child care, generous family leave, and access
to mental health services they need is key to their family well-being and our national security,” New York Democratic Rep.
Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.

  Moms in the military

Total number of moms:
— Army Guard: 14,762
— Army: 27,400
— Army Reserve: 14,659
— Coast Guard: 1,270
— Coast Guard Reserve: 299
— Air National Guard: 7,549
— Air Force: 23,106
— Air Force Reserve: 7,044
— Marine Corps: 2,822
— Marine Corps Reserve: 405
— Navy: 16,034
— Navy Reserve: 6,351

Total: 121,701

Total number of moms deployed:
— Army Guard: 647
— Army: 3,496
— Army Reserve: 644
Coast Guard: 1
— Air National Guard: 97
— Air Force:  996
— Air Force Reserve: 95
— Marine Corps: 147
— Marine Corps Reserve: 11
— Navy: 869
— Navy Reserve: 240

Total: 7,243

Source: NBC News

“Not addressing these issues could have serious implications for the retention of women in the military, and the
readiness and effectiveness of our forces.” The Joint Economic Committee, a bipartisan group of senators and
members of the House of Representatives, used Defense Department figures for much of the report.

It said that women represent one in seven U.S. military personnel in Iraq, and that most are in the lowest-paid ranks.
Women make up about 14.3 percent of the active-duty military, according to the report, and about 40 percent of women
in the active-duty force have children compared with 44 percent of active-duty men. But military mothers are much more
likely to be single or divorced, or married to other members of the military who also face deployment. That leaves
grandparents, other relatives or paid caregivers to take care of young children when parents are deployed or redeployed.

The report, available on the Internet, said the military may be stretched to recruit and retain women if it does not provide better services.

“The military has increased the number of available child-care centers, but the National Military Families Association estimates
that the military is approximately 35,000 short of expected need,” it said.