Every day and in every emergency, unwaged or low waged caregivers, urban and rural, mostly women, often immigrant women, struggle to protect and care for people of every age and condition. But this work is kept invisible and therefore there is never a relief package from governments for caregivers, only more work, especially with the advent of Covid-19.
In the 80s, the Women Count – Count Women’s Work petition issued by the International Wages for Housework Campaign gave voice of a hidden mass movement for recognition of this work. It was signed by 1,200 organizations representing millions of women worldwide, resulting in the 1995 UN decision that governments measure and value unwaged work in national accounts.
The Green New Deal for Europe (http://www.gndforeurope.com/) takes this forward. It looks at what work is needed for social and environmental wellbeing, and what work is not, and proposes a Care Income as a key part of its programme for climate justice. At last protecting people and protecting the Earth can be equated and prioritized over the uncaring market – a major step in transforming the world and saving it. We need this everywhere.
We demand a CARE INCOME across the planet for all those, of every gender, who care for people, the urban and rural environment, and the natural world.
Free childcare was one of the goals of second wave feminism, when we took up the cause of gender equity in the 70s. It seemed logical, because children need access to other children and expert care to develop the skills that parents can’t provide, and allowed particularly mothers, as the primary carer, time for paid work and other activities. After all, child rearing was not intended to be the sole responsibility of parents but a community: “it takes a village to rear a child”.
There’s a big benefit for the government by the reduction in the numbers of unemployed on jobkeeker payments. Low-paid female workers are likely to remain in their vital jobs, as will others who are still employed.
This brief glimpse of free care will raise expectations that are unlikely to be met when these one-offs are withdrawn.
Maybe the brief experience of thousands of users of the temporary model will create the demand for a serious revolution in this (and other) community services.
Well, not quite.
But he did announce that all childcare – yes, essentially all — would be free from Sunday night onwards for the next three months, with the strong possibility that the new arrangements would remain in place for as long as six months.
During World War II in the United States, another time of great disruption when women were needed in manufacturing jobs as men were shipped off to the front, President Franklin Roosevelt funnelled funding from a wartime infrastructure bill to create and run a network of child-care centres. Without these, there would have been no Rosie the Riveter.
Unfortunately, President Harry S. Truman shut the childcare centres down shortly after Japan surrendered. And judging by Mr. Tehan’s interview on the ABC yesterday, he hopes to follow Truman’s lead. “We would love to be able to go back to the system we previously had in place,” he said.
To put it mildly, that would be a huge mistake.
In Brisbane, Australia, where prostitution is legal, police have been arresting and fining women working in unlicensed brothels, when what they should be doing is arresting the pimps and punters involved.
Vulnerable women need to be given the opportunity to escape the sex trade, and not be fobbed off with pointless health advice and hand sanitisers. These women are already exposed to horrific violence, as well as a number of serious and long-term mental and physical health conditions. The last thing any government should be doing is finding ways to keep the sex trade thriving.
Prostituted women should be financially supported and classed as long-term unemployed. We need to acknowledge the hell they have been living under and make available everything from counselling and health services, childcare, and re-education packages.
The government should clamp down on the men that are putting their own selfish desires before the lives of others. Prostitution can never be made safe. Covid 19 is but one threat to women in prostitution, and pimps and punters need to be the ones that pay the price.
An unexpected side effect of COVID-19 appears to be that biological sex is both real and mentionable again!
[W]hile men are becoming sicker and dying at a higher rate, women are emerging as more vulnerable to the social and economic sequelae of the virus. Professionally, women are more likely to be teachers, paid carers, nurses, supermarket check out workers, cleaners etc in ‘essential professions’ which are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19. They are also more likely to be engaged in casual or insecure work, and in sectors which are being most heavily affected by escalating closures and lockdowns. The contempt for the wellbeing of women in the sex industry was demonstrated perfectly in Sydney, where the first ’employees’ to be fined for breaching new pandemic regulations were three prostituted women working in a
brothelmassage parlour which was clearly not about to let the risk of communicable disease get in the way of profiting from women’s bodies.
Let’s be perfectly clear – it is not ‘people’ who are being forced into early induction of labour or surgical births as health systems divert resources from maternity wards to pandemic preparedness. It is not ‘individuals’ who are finding themselves wondering if their only choices are to birth their baby in an overrun disease ridden hospital or at home unattended. It is not ‘parents’ crying in the hoarding-emptied formula aisle wondering if it’s too late to rebuild the breastmilk supply they were told was optional. None of this is or has ever been done to any person on the basis of their pronouns – this is all a result of the status of women in patriarchy as less than people on the basis of belonging to the female sex class.
– Don’t nag your husband.
– Don’t speak in an infantile voice.
-If you must request your husband to do something, adopt the voice of Doraemon (a Japanese cartoon robot cat)
– If you’re working at home, wear makeup and dress neatly, rather than in casual clothes.
The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry have since issued an apology.
“We apologise if some of the tips we shared were inappropriate and touched on the sensitivities of some parties.”
The posters have now been removed.
The chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre, Vivienne Hayes, told The Guardian “This use of International Women’s Day by companies is part of the co-option of feminism and women’s equality into a much more mainstream position, that has led to the corporatisation of the advancement of women’s rights.”
The blatant commercialism of a day designed to highlight the very real inequity women and girls continue to face is vile. The absolute last thing any woman or girl the world over needs is a corporate version of Mother’s Day.
On Sunday Westfield Hornsby ran a promotion with a list of seven different ways women could ‘celebrate’ IWD. From getting a blow dry, to a mani/pedi, new dress or eating a pastry, I very nearly threw up.
If I was Premier of a State, or Chief Minister of a Territory, I would close all youth prisons immediately. I’d decriminalise minor, non-violent offences, such as public nuisance and drug possession charges, which account for the vast majority of women prisoners. Trauma is the other key contributor to criminalisation of women, with the vast majority of women prisoners having survived violence. I’d outlaw re-traumatising practices routinely practiced in Australian women’s prisons, particularly strip searching and solitary confinement. I’d ensure domestic violence legislation was gendered (for example, since de-gendered legislation was introduced, breach of DVO’s has joined the top ten reasons for women’s imprisonment in Queensland!) And, I’d outlaw mandatory sentences which do not allow the judiciary to make judgements based on the wider context of an offence. Once prisons emptied, I would close them one by one.