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Do we value women’s work? (The F-Word)

Global Women’s Strike argue it’s time to stand up for women’s unpaid care work.

It is forty years since the women of Iceland took a Day Off and brought the country to a halt and 20 years since we won a commitment from governments celebrating the UN Decade for Women to include the value of women’s unwaged work in their national accounts. Yet women are still the poorer sex, doing two thirds of the world’s work, including growing most of the food. We care for children and for sick, disabled and elderly people, in the family and outside, in war as in peace. Society cannot survive without caring, yet carers are undermined not supported.

An uncaring market

The economic and social priorities that dismiss the carer are determined not by people’s health and well-being, or even the survival of the planet which sustains all life, but by the global market. In 90% of UK families the primary carer is a woman. 79% of austerity cuts have targeted women, that is carers and those we care for. While the 1% more than doubled their income in the last 10 years and the arms trade has risen by 22%, 1 billion children worldwide live in poverty, 3.7m in the UK and 176,565 surviving on food banks.

Michelle Dorrell spoke for many on BBC Question Time when she attacked government plans to take away tax credits. “I can hardly afford the rent I have to pay. I can hardly afford the bills I’ve got to do, and you’re going to take more from me. Shame on you!” Many go without so their children can eat. Many do two or three low paid jobs. Many do sex work to pay the rent. Even junior doctors (60% of whom are women under 30) are being targeted: pressured to work longer for less and to lose their maternity protection.

We have got used to measuring sexism by how many women have made it to the commanding heights of the economy and politics. Professor Alison Wolf has attacked as a “betrayal of feminism” this “modern obsession” with women at the top, while the poorly paid mainly women shift workers on which these “golden skirts” depend, are ignored.

We are told that a job, any job, is better than caring.

© and source rest: The F-Word