For centuries, nations, societies and cultures have relied on the unwaged work of people, mainly women, to ensure that the young, the elderly and others unable to fully care for themselves are looked after. Society has relied on unwaged caring work to ensure that successive generations are produced, educated, and socialised. Nations depend on unwaged caring work for the existence, health, and well-being of their waged workforce. Three quarters of the world’s unwaged caring work is done by women undertaking 12.5 billion hours every day and representing a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year.
Care income describes an end to this system. It describes a wage, paid in cash or access to land, beginning with mothers and other primary carers, and including those who care for and protect the soil, water, air and natural world. The care income values and recognises the life-giving and life-sustaining work of reproducing and caring for the entire human race. It recognises caring as fundamental to all human relationships and the need to invest in those who do care work for the survival of us all. It recognises that there is no human reproduction without the natural world on which we all depend – the care of the land, the air, the oceans and the rivers. It demands a reversal of priorities: from an economy aimed at profit which enriches some to the detriment of all, to an economy aimed at protecting and enriching all life.
The demand for a care income has grown out of the International Wages for Housework Campaign (IWFHC) started in 1972 by Selma James. The IWFHC is an ongoing campaign that begins with those with least power internationally – unwaged workers in the home, mostly mothers, and unwaged subsistence farmers and workers on the land and in the community. The demand for wages for caring work is also a way of organising from the bottom up, of autonomous sectors working together to end the imbalance of power relations among us. The IWFHC succeeded in getting the UN to pass path-breaking commitments that acknowledge the contribution of unwaged caring work that women do in the home, on the land, and in the community. Since 8 March 2000, the IWFHC has become more widely known as the Global Women’s Strike (GWS).
These data remind us caring responsibilities not only affect careers or work-life balance, but also education. The sharp decline in female enrolments over the age of 25 suggests it was likely because of caring responsibilities.
The data also highlight the gendered complexities of COVID-19 on education. Women’s enrolments were disproportionately affected, whereas the data showed significant increases in men over the age of 25 enrolling in university in May 2020 compared with 2019. Male enrolments in this age group increased by about 26,000.
MRAs have a pronounced — and unfounded — grievance against family courts, maintaining that they are instinctively biased against men, and designed to undermine their ability to exercise what they see as their rightful power over their children and partners. MRAs obsessively advance the idea that women habitually lie about domestic abuse in order to manipulate the courts.
Astonishingly, over the past three decades an ideological revolution within family courts throughout the West have seen these institutions become more sympathetic to this worldview. In doing so they have perpetuated the violence and torment for countless women and children, and severely damaged their own reputations as ethical and dependable arbiters of disputes. In June, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice issued an extraordinary report that firmly stated its family courts are now refusing to protect children from obviously dangerous fathers. Similar reports could be written in almost all Western capitals.
Gardner’s revolution was built on devising a “theory” that could be used to create suspicion towards any attempts by mothers to report cases of child abuse. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) has a simple premise; that almost all allegations of child abuse will be false, and the more a mother, or even the child themselves, insists that abuse has occurred, the more this “syndrome” — or brainwashing of a child — is at work. Gardner asserted that this “alienation” was itself a form of child abuse more damaging than any violence. He designed a trap, one that would silence mothers from reporting abuse, or punish them if they did.
Extraordinarily, Gardner’s belief that “alienation” is a form of child abuse more harmful than violence has successfully been able to convince judges that in awarding custody to abusive men they are actually acting in the child’s best interests.
The perverse “genius” of PA’s deception has been the way it backs mothers into a corner, preys on her fears, and turns her maternal instincts to protect her children into a pitfall. The more PA manipulates the justice system to endanger her children, the more desperate a mother becomes.
Due to PA’s dominance of family court proceedings, a “good mother” is now not one who is loving, caring, and responsible towards her children, but instead a mother who actively encourages contact with a father, whether he is violent or not.
With the institutionalisation of PA within family courts, abusive men have successfully been able to weaponise legal proceedings against their children and former partners. The family court has now become an extension of these men’s coercive control, making it almost impossible for women and children to escape from abusive environments.
There is an assertion that a man’s biology carries far greater legal weight than The state is signalling that masculinity doesn’t need to find its dignity in love, kindness, and compassion, and that parenthood — for men — is effectively a neutral concept devoid of any ideals to strive towards.There is an assertion that a man’s biology carries far greater legal weight than his actions.
But that same study showed that when partners leave, it’s normally men. One study from 2009 found the strongest predictor for separation or divorce for patients with brain cancer was whether or not the sick person was a woman. That same study showed that men were seven times more likely to leave their partner than the other way around if one of them got brain cancer.
Gendered expectations about household work ought to have changed in the last few decades. Women have almost equal representation in the workplace and in 41% of US homes, women are the breadwinners. More men than ever are stay-at-home fathers. And yet, when a woman falls ill, it can really reveal the extent to which men not only feel entitled to a certain level of housework, but also have no concept of how to be an efficient and appropriate caregiver.
I started the organization All Mothers Work in 2014, not only as a reaction to conventional socio-cultural notions of motherhood and labour (the name comes from a cry of frustration over the term “working mothers,” as though mothers who do not work for pay are not also performing labour), but also to challenge a lot of existing feminist thought on the topic. I was overwhelmed by the reception I got for my work; endless numbers of women found themselves so dissatisfied with both radical and liberal analyses of motherhood that some even refused to call themselves feminists because they felt so looked down upon, underrepresented and misrepresented. Like me, they found it to be a fulfilling, vital undertaking that was as hard and as valid as any paid work, and yet this was incompatible with what both patriarchal society and feminism were telling us we should be doing and experiencing. . . .
As a result of the influence of Firestone’s work, feminist analysis of motherhood too often reads as though there are only two choices: rejection of motherhood or collusion with patriarchy. It is futile, self-defeating and in my opinion inhumane to approach reproduction and motherhood as things with no value or worth, to treat women as though none of them really want to be mothers and as though they long to be freed from what must be viewed as the burden of motherhood, while seeing children as little more than parasites who don’t require a primary caregiver (which goes against everything we know about child development and how nurturing works) and who should be made to live away from adults as soon as possible. To me, this is seeing reproduction and motherhood in a patriarchal way. It denigrates motherhood, rejects caring activities, and reveals a lack of interest in what women actually want and what children actually need. . . .
I believe that the way forward is to embrace nurturing and caring more – using our own model. When we look objectively at the labour that can only be carried out by women, and also that which is seen as “women’s work,” we see that women’s labour is productive, life-creating, life-maintaining, life-facilitating, co-operative and egalitarian. Labour deemed male, by contrast, is all too often appropriating, parasitic, exploitative and hierarchical. It relies on women’s labour being performed invisibly and for free, which men obtain and maintain by normalizing and justifying their labour values as superior and natural, through the use of gender. We need to shift the whole of society over to those matriarchal values. That means stripping the concepts of nurture, care and the maternal of the meanings given to them by patriarchy, and creating and living our own.
If women were even paid a minimum wage for the labour extracted from them for free, women would be the leading global economic superpower, before any paid labour done by them was counted in. This is not nothing. This is absolutely huge. And yet patriarchal tropes about the work women do, paid and unpaid, still flourish.
The mother of David Dungay, an Aboriginal man who died after being held face down by five Sydney prison guards, said it was a “slap in the face” that the public prosecutor would not investigate whether criminal offences might have been committed by the officers involved.
Aboriginal women who are fleeing domestic violence and find themselves homeless are reluctant to access support services for fear of losing their children to the foster care system, they said.
“It’s harder for women to get support these days,” the Women’s Legal Service’s First Nations community officer, Gail Thorne, said.
The Redfern Legal Centre lawyer Samantha Lee said it was common for Aboriginal women who call the police to report domestic violence to end up in custody themselves.
“The police then go to speak to the husband and they form the view that they are going to take the husband’s story and put that ahead of the woman’s story, and what they do is end up arresting the person who has called triple zero and place them into custody.
“One of the problems is [police] are quick to judge and usually they are very quick to judge First Nations people and women.”
The parliamentary inquiry has been set up to look into “the unacceptably high level” of Aboriginal people in custody, the suitability of the organisations that investigate deaths, and how they could be improved.
Tasmanian Liberal Claire Chandler says the Australian Human Rights Commission is ignoring serious injury risks to women in sport and has called for urgent withdrawal of pro-transgender guidelines aimed at nine million players.
Senator Chandler, who has been pursuing the agencies over the policy process, said it was now conceded “that the guidelines have no scientific basis, no consideration of safety, no consideration of fairness in women’s sport”.
A legal opinion from Melbourne QC Stuart Wood to Senator Chandler says the 2019 trans-inclusion document created by the human rights experts is an inaccurate and misleading guide to anti-discrimination law and sport, with potentially “dangerous practical effects” if sporting bodies rely on it.
COVID-19 has left women, more than men, economically disadvantaged through unemployment, underemployment, lowered incomes, less secure work, greater household and family demands, and increased risk of domestic violence.But you’re unlikely to read about it in next week’s budget.Instead you’re likely to read about new (male dominated) construction projects and more work in the electricity and gas industries. And tax cuts, which predominantly benefit higher earners and so are of less use to females.
Gender responsive budgeting could make a substantial contribution, documenting the extent to which investment in childcare and other services is more likely to create jobs, and jobs for women, than spending on construction.
While the current government appears uninterested, the tide is turning.
Almost half of the 37 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development now have some form of gender budgeting. The former head of the International Monetary Fund has declared it good budgeting.
Tara VanDerveer has been the head women’s basketball coach at Stanford University since 1985. She once compared the world of women’s sports before 1972 to a family dinner table where the boys were served steaks and the girls were served cold hot dogs without buns or even ketchup.
And quite frankly, girls only got the “benefit” of cold hot dogs if there was any money leftover after buying all the steaks — often, there wasn’t.
Title IX, the 1972 federal law barring discrimination on the basis of sex in education, changed everything. It required that men and women receive equitable educational opportunities.
Given the history behind Title IX and how it was passed specifically to protect girls and women from a system that favored boys and men, it’s appalling that the ACLU and other organizations are now trying to undo Title IX so that a transgender girl can simply steal the steak from the biological girl seated across the table, leaving her with nothing.
Nineteen states in our country allow biological males whoself-identify as women to play on women’s sports teams in schools. This means biological boys, with all the advantages of the male body, are being allowed to steal athletic opportunities from biological girls in multiple ways.
Historically, medical research has often taken a one-size-fits-all approach, lumping women and men together despite growing evidence that the sexes differ in how they catch and fight disease.
A stark example was the heart drug digoxin, which was widely marketed in the late 1990s on the basis of a trial that showed it to be effective and safe. But over time a higher incidence of side-effects in women emerged. When the same dataset was analysed on the basis of sex, it showed digoxin decreased mortality in men – but increased mortality in women.
Covid-19 seems to be a case in point when it comes to differences between the sexes, with men thought to be up to twice as likely as women to die from the virus. But a new analysis suggests that scientists involved in the race to develop medical interventions for the coronavirus have paid little attention to these disparities.
“Women are not just small men. We have different hormones [levels], smaller kidneys and more fat tissue where drugs can accumulate,” said Dr Cara Tannenbaum, a scientific director at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “There’s so many reasons why things can go wrong.”