GWS is an international network campaigning for a living wage for mothers & other carers, we have been calling for a women's strike since 8 March 2000. GWS is co-ordinated by the Wages for Housework Campaign & Selma James
Cada día y en cada emergencia, lxs cuidadorxs
no asalariadxs o con bajos salarios, en la cuidad y el campo, en su mayoría
mujeres, y a menudo mujeres inmigrantes, luchan por proteger y cuidar a las personas
de toda edad y condición. Pero este trabajo se mantiene invisible y, por lo
tanto, nunca hay un paquete de ayuda de los gobiernos para las cuidadoras, solo
más trabajo, especialmente con la llegada de Covid-19
En 1980, la OIT estimó que las mujeres realizaban 2/3 del trabajo mundial para
el 5% de sus ingresos. Hoy en día, las mujeres y las niñas realizan más de las
tres cuartas partes de todo el trabajo de cuidado no remunerado, un total de
12.500 millones de horas al día.
La pandemia de coronavirus se sumó a la
pandemia climática, la pandemia de la pobreza, la pandemia de la guerra y las
pandemias de violación sexual y violencia doméstica que han afectado mayormente
a las familias de madres solas, enfermxs, discapacitadxs y personas mayores. La
pandemia está exponiendo debilidades en nuestra capacidad para resistir y
sobrevivir física y económicamente – desde los sistemas de inmunidad ya
comprometidos por la pobreza, la discriminación, la contaminación, la guerra,
la ocupación, el desplazamiento y otros actos de violencia, hasta la atención
médica inadecuada y los ingresos inadecuados, especialmente en el Sur Global,
en comunidades de color en el norte, y entre refugiadxs en todas partes.
En respuesta al virus, país tras país ha
sido cerrado –desde los lugares de trabajo hasta las escuelas y el transporte–
y se están debatiendo propuestas para reemplazar los salarios perdidos. Estas
medidas drásticas demuestran que los gobiernos pueden actuar con rapidez y
encontrar el dinero para hacer frente a las “emergencias”, si así lo
desean. En este momento crítico, debemos insistir colectivamente en lo que
necesitamos. Tememos que los gobiernos puedan usar mayores poderes de
emergencia para transferir riqueza de lxs contribuyentxs a las corporaciones, e
incluso imponer controles, vigilancia y restricciones adicionales sobre
nuestros movimientos y nuestras vidas mucho después de que termine esta pandemia.
El mercado valora el trabajo no remunerado
a $ 10.8 trillones, pero nunca sugiere que las mujeres reciban ni siquiera un
centavo. En cambio, se nos aconseja obtener una educación y un trabajo mejor
remunerado. Por supuesto, tenemos derecho a eso. Pero no es solución para el
trabajo indispensable de la vida y la supervivencia, desde la lactancia materna
hasta el cuidado de ancianxs. Solo aumentar el estatus, el poder y los ingresos
de lxs cuidadorxs puede solucionarlo.
En los años 80, la petición Las Mujeres
Cuentan – Cuenten el Trabajo de las Mujeres emitida por la Campaña
Internacional por un Salario para el Trabajo del Hogar dio voz a un movimiento
de masas oculto para el reconocimiento de este trabajo. Fue firmada por 1.200
organizaciones que representaban a millones de mujeres a nivel mundial, lo que
resultó en la decisión de la ONU de 1995 de que los gobiernos midan y valoren
el trabajo no remunerado en las cuentas nacionales
New Deal for Europe (Nuevo Acuerdo Verde para Europa) lleva adelante este
logro. Analiza qué trabajo es necesario para el bienestar social y ambiental, y
qué trabajo no lo es, y propone un Ingreso de Cuidado como parte clave de su
programa para la justicia climática. Por fin, se puede equiparar y priorizar la
protección de las personas y la protección de la Tierra por encima del mercado inhumano
– un paso importante para transformar el mundo y salvarlo. Necesitamos esto en
Exigimos un INGRESO DE CUIDADO en todo el
planeta para todxs aquellxs, de todos los géneros, que cuidan de las personas,
el medio ambiente urbano y rural, y el mundo natural.
Global Women’s Strike (GWS) y Mujeres de
Huelga Mundial de Mujeres (HMM) y Mujeres
de Color en la HMM
Nuevo Acuerdo Verde para Europa firstname.lastname@example.org
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 1980, the ILO estimated that women did 2/3 of the world’s work for 5% of its income. Today women and girls do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work – a total of 12.5 billion hours a day.
The coronavirus pandemic came on top of the climate pandemic, the poverty pandemic, the war pandemic and the rape and domestic violence pandemics which have hit single mother families, ill, disabled and older people hardest. It is exposing weaknesses in our ability to resist and survive physically and financially – from immune systems already compromised by poverty, discrimination, pollution, war, occupation, displacement and other violence to inadequate healthcare and inadequate incomes, especially in the Global South, in communities of colour in the North, and among refugees everywhere.
In response to the virus, country after country has been shut down – from workplaces to schools and transport – and proposals to replace lost wages are being debated. These drastic measures show that governments can take swift action and find money to deal with “emergencies” – if they want to. At this critical moment, we must insist collectively on what we need. We fear that governments may use increased emergency powers to transfer wealth from taxpayers to corporations, and even impose further controls, surveillance and restrictions on our movements and our lives well after this pandemic is over.
The market values unwaged work at $10.8 trillion but never suggests that women should get any of it. Instead we are advised to get an education and a better paid job. We of course have a right to that. But it does not deal with the indispensable work of life and survival – from breastfeeding to elder care. Only increasing the status, power and income of caregivers can do that.
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.
The coronavirus pandemic comes on top of the
climate pandemic, the poverty pandemic and the war pandemics which have hit
single mother families, ill, disabled and older people hardest. It is exposing weaknesses in our ability to resist
and survive physically and financially – from immune systems already
compromised by poverty, pollution, war, occupation and displacement to
inadequate healthcare and inadequate incomes, especially in the Global South,
in communities of colour in the North, and among refugees everywhere.
Every day and in every emergency, unwaged or low waged
caregivers, 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
1980, the ILO estimated that women did 2/3 of the world’s work for 5% of its
income. Over 1,500 organizations representing millions of women worldwide
signed the petition Women Count – Count Women’s
Work as the only way to make our contribution visible. In 1995 we
won the UN commitment that governments would measure and value unwaged work in
national accounts. But still todaywomen and girls do more than three-quarters of all
unpaid care work with a total of 12.5bn hours a day.
market values this at $10.8tn but never suggests that women should get any of
they tell us to get an education and a better paid job. We all have a right to
that. But it would not deal with the
indispensable work of life and survival – from breastfeeding to elder
care. Only increasing the status, power and income of caregivers can do that.
response to the virus, country after country is being shut down – from
workplaces to schools and transport – and proposals to replace lost wages are
being debated. These drastic measures show that governments
can take swift action and find money to deal with “emergencies” – if they want
to. Now is the time to spell out what we collectively need, and
insist on it. If we don’t, governments may use their increased powers to
transfer wealth from taxpayers to corporations, and impose further controls,
surveillance and restrictions on our movements and our lives well after this
pandemic is over.
we have a need and right to is a CARE INCOME for
all those, of every gender, who “care for
people, the urban environment, and the natural world”. The Green New
Deal for Europe, to which we have contributed, begins to look at what work we
do and why. It proposes a Care Income as a key part of its programme for
climate justice. For decades we have been campaigning for a living wage
for mothers and other carers, North and South. A Care Income is a welcome
development. At last protecting people and protecting Mother Earth can be
equated and prioritized over the uncaring market – a major step in transforming
the world and saving it.
On 20 March 2020, in response to the health,
climate, poverty and war pandemics, in a webinar hosted within the Commission
on the Status of Women, women from across the globe call for a Care Income, not only for Europe but for caregivers everywhere.
Invitation to a Webinar From Coronavirus and Beyond Valuing Caregiving — the Unwaged Work that Protects People and the Environment. The workshop we planned for the 64th UN Commission on the Status of Women has even more urgency now as the global pandemic has exposed how central caregiving is to life and survival, and how much caregivers are relied on for services governments are not providing. But where is the relief package for caregivers? We hope you can join in the webinar and follow us at: #careincomenow
Selma James – founder of the Intl Wages for Housework Campaign and coordinator of the Global Women’s Strike from London; Liz Hilton, Empower (Thailand); Leddy Mozombite, Domestic Workers Federation and Global Women’s Strike (Peru); Peggy O’Mara, former editor of Mothering Magazine; Margaret Prescod, Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike and Intl Black Women for Wages for Housework; Rev Liz Theoharis, joint coordinator Poor People’s Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival and the Kairos Center; Chaired by Phoebe Jones, Women in Dialogue. Q&A to follow the presentations.
The Webinar aims to discuss and gather support for ● global implementation of measuring & valuing unwaged caregiving work, including the impact of COVID-19 on caregivers’ work ● accessing resources for survival and beyond – free healthcare, paid maternity leave, benefits, piped water & more for this work which is central to combating poverty & climate change ● campaigning for a Care Income for all caring for people, communities & the environment (Green New Deal for Europe, 2019).
Additional sponsors: Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, Global Women’s Strike, Intl Prostitutes Collective, Empower, Women Against Rape, Queerstrike, WinVisible, Payday men’s network.
Women’s caring role in society means we end up doing a ‘double day’ whether we like it or not, writes SELMA JAMES
WHEN the women’s liberation movement began in 1970, groups sprang up all over London and all over Britain.
You would have a meeting and establish some of the things you wanted to discuss but at the next meeting there were twice as many women and you had to go over the same ground again.
So the newcomers were told “form your own group,” and the number of groups doubled and trebled.
A lot of women wanted to destroy all the hierarchies in society — not only of gender, but of race, nationality, age, disability, sexuality … but especially of class. We were almost all white but we were not all middle class.
I had been involved in the anti-imperialist movement in the Caribbean and, back in Britain, in the anti-racist movement (we were a mixed-race family).
I naturally brought that to women’s liberation. Some women embraced anti-racism but some treated it as an alien force competitive with feminism.
They had not yet registered that most of the women in the world are not white: the number of people of colour in Britain, though growing, was still relatively small.
I also brought women’s liberation to the anti-racist movement and fought it out with the men there; the women found their own voice.
At that moment in time it was difficult for most people — in any movement — to conceive of identifying as more than one sector. But some of us thought that we were all more than one sector and that we shouldn’t have to cut off any part of our identity to fit into any movement.
As women we identified first of all as those who did caring work for everyone but were the poorer and subordinate sex because we got not a bean for doing it. We had concluded that this unwaged work was central to the low status of women in every sphere and every country.
We produced and cared for all the workers of the world, and thus gave birth to and maintained every economy. In much of the world this included growing the food we fed our families. We were often asked by husbands in so called advanced countries: “What did you do all day?” as we put the meal on the table while tending a crying child. We women worked very hard doing what wasn’t considered work.
To redress this basic exploitation we formed the International Wages for Housework Campaign (WFH).
In 1975 WFH in London opened our first women’s centre — a little squat which ultimately became today’s Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town.
It’s one thing to campaign for unwaged work to be waged by governments, it’s quite another for various sectors of women to organise together with this perspective and at the same time make their own particular case — as women of colour, as lesbian women, as sex workers, as women with disabilities, as single mothers, as rape survivors, as immigrants, as asylum seekers…
It was that autonomous but mutually supportive way of campaigning that enabled us to come together in a women’s centre (there are more than one Crossroads centres in the world) and even in an international network which includes domestic workers, farmers, factory workers, students, teachers, nurses, claimants…
From 2000 WFH has co-ordinated the Global Women’s Strike in a number of countries.
This International Women’s Day is different in a number of ways. The women’s strikes which have been taking place around the world on March 8 have focused on rape, domestic violence and the murder of women, and the demand to end the impunity men are being given by the state. Caring work has featured as never before.
Caring has even entered university syllabuses. This is not only because women are insisting that this massive contribution be finally recognised but because we’ve gone out to work, doing a double day whether we like it or not. That was the only route to financial independence or even family survival once benefits were cut.
Now we face a climate emergency which threatens the whole of society, and in fact the whole world.
Strangely enough it was this crisis which opened the way to updating WFH. The Green New Deal for Europe, of which we are a dedicated part, is proposing a care income paid to all who do caring work for people and the natural world, whatever our gender.
At last protecting people and protecting Mother Earth are equated and elevated above the uncaring market.
This is light years ahead of a basic income which hides the crucial work that women do, leaves intact the sexist division of labour and the domination of the market and can even be used to abolish benefits.
And it is certainly more respectful of caring relationships than parking dependent loved ones with “professionals” in order to the “liberate” us, as some women economists urge.
We know enough about capitalism to worry that a “greening” of Europe means a new level of exploitation and environmental destruction of the global South — ie where is lithium for electric car batteries coming from and who is mining it? They will try to sell and celebrate this “development” — which makes international accountability and organising even more urgent.
The new and massively growing movement to save the earth is having to confront every prejudice which has divided us. Fighting for climate justice is our chance and our need.
This Sunday the Crossroads Women’s Centre will open its doors to women and to every gender, welcoming all to meet the 15 organisations based there and what they try to accomplish through collective self-help.
The open day on Sunday March 8 features workshops, films, exhibitions, music and refreshments. It runs from 12pm-5pm at 25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX. For more information visit crossroadswomen.net.
A disabled woman’s tribunal victory has given hope to claimants who cannot take part in face-to-face benefit assessments for impairment, health, or trauma-related reasons, but then have their claims ended by the government for “failure to attend” their appointments.
Jane* spent two years fighting for her benefits to be reinstated, with support from the grassroots group WinVisible** and the charity Child Poverty Action Group, before the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) conceded defeat at the upper tribunal.
WinVisible said disabled people who cannot attend face-to-face assessments for health reasons or after surviving trauma or even abuse or sexual violence had become “easy targets” for DWP.
Among those claimants WinVisible has helped is a cancer patient who missed four assessment dates while struggling to cope with her diagnosis and clashing NHS appointments.
It has also highlighted Jane’s case.
She is an older woman, from the East Midlands, who has been disabled for 40 years and was previously claiming the highest rates of disability living allowance.
She had been receiving DLA since its introduction in 1992 until she had it suddenly removed by DWP in March 2018 for “failure to attend” a face-to-face assessment, after she was reassessed as part of the introduction of the new personal independence payment (PIP).
Her request for a home visit in the afternoon so she could prepare for the assessment was refused by the outsourcing company Capita.
Then her request for the assessment to be carried out on paper – because of the anxiety the process was causing her – was refused.
She had her benefits cut off after a failure to agree a suitable appointment time.
When she appealed but was unable to attend the tribunal for impairment-related reasons, she was branded “un-cooperative” by the tribunal panel, which rubber-stamped the DWP decision.
She was left with no disability benefits and unable to leave the house without someone to push her manual wheelchair. She also passed the age of 65, and so had to apply for attendance allowance, which has no mobility component.
She would have given up the fight if she had not come across WinVisible when searching online for help.
WinVisible secured support from CPAG’s upper tribunal project, which works with smaller organisations taking appeals to the upper tribunal.
Months of legal discussions, overseen by a tribunal judge, eventually saw DWP concede defeat, and agree that a fresh PIP claim could be decided only on paperwork, with the help of further medical evidence gathered by WinVisible.
The judge has now approved a “consent order”, which has seen DWP agree to award Jane the enhanced rate of PIP indefinitely – both for daily living and mobility – as well as more than £10,500 in backdated payments.
Claire Glasman (pictured, front left, speaking), from WinVisible, said: “‘Failure to attend’ is a big issue for sick, severely disabled and traumatised claimants, such as survivors of abuse and sexual violence being assessed by strangers.
“And those of us who are immigrant and refugee women face racism, where psychiatric reports about trauma are dismissed.”
“We are easy targets for the DWP to dismiss our claims in this way. As disabled claimants, we are expected to accept needless and stressful reassessments, and appointments at any time, even 9am on a Sunday morning.”
She pointed out that Jodey Whiting, who took her own life in February 2017 after being wrongly found “fit for work” following a missed work capability assessment, also lost her benefits because of a “failure to attend” decision by DWP officials.
Glasman said changes to the system were promised to Whiting’s mother, Joy Dove, but instead the system was “getting worse”.
She said: “Most services tell people to comply with the current system and are judgemental against women.
“Compliance includes routinely attending exams and interviews when asked.”
She said WinVisible was instead providing information and support for disabled women to fight their cases, highlighting the discrimination in the system, and pointing out that exemptions from “stressful” face-to-face interviews are provided for in regulations and DWP guidance.
She said: “We also try to overcome the indifference, bureaucracy and delay which exhausts sick and disabled people into giving up, by asking MPs and senior officials to intervene.”
Glasman added: “Disabled people, and disabled women especially who are dealing with added issues such as domestic violence and caring responsibilities, feel very strongly that the benefits system should not treat us like malingerers and scroungers, and should respect our rights.”
DWP declined to comment on Jane’s case.
*Not her real name
**WinVisible is based in London but is often contacted by disabled women across England, Scotland and Wales, and welcomes volunteers, with its casework and advocacy financially supported by the Oak Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund
A note from the editor:
Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations.
Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009.
Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
Join Shoda Rackal from @WomenStrike Women of Colour and Solveig Francis from #CrossroadsWomenCentre for a conversation about mothers, breastfeeding and campaigns for a #CareIncome! https://eventbrite.co.uk/e/breastfeeding-best-for-babies-planet-too-with-women-of-colour-global-womens-strike-tickets-96986546371?ref=eios