|Action Alert Demand Money for Mothers & Other Caregivers in Every Stimulus Bill! Mothers and other unwaged primary caregivers are counted on for everyone’s survival, especially but not only during this pandemic, yet we are never included in relief/stimulus legislation. Instead, we’re disrespected, especially those of us on welfare or other benefits struggling the hardest to survive. Our economic contributions are hidden, so we keep working even when ill, and without financial means we can’t escape domestic violence and face having our children taken away, as poverty is treated as neglect. But we too are essential workers making a fundamental social contribution to survival, health and the economy – we have earned our right to stimulus money! ● More healthcare is provided by unwaged caregivers than all healthcare institutions worldwide ● $470 billion is the value of unwaged caregiving for adults (not even including care for children) in the US (AARP) ● 34 billion hours per day is how much women & girls spend on caregiving work worldwide ● $143,000 a year is what US moms would earn if we were paid for all the jobs we do, with overtime, according to Salary.com ● Yet, women & children are 73% of the poor in the US ● There is plenty of money: The US has 607 billionaires; the top eight richest billionaires own as much combined wealth as “half the human race”. The US military budget keeps rising and pays for bases all over the world… It’s about time caregivers are prioritized not only in the US but worldwide. This helps ensure health everywhere. Full list of demands here Take Action: Tweet, Share, and Sign the Petition Share graphic below with accompanying text on the right, adapting to your situation. To find Twitter handles, email addresses and phone numbers for your own Representatives and Senators, go to tweetcongress.org/tweeters. More graphics & memes attached! |
FOR TWITTER: Money 4 Mothers & Other Caregivers must be in every Stimulus Bill! https://bit.ly/Money4Caregivers #Money4Caregivers #CareIncomeNow #ChildBenefitNow @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @McConnellPress @senatemajldr @RepGwenMoore @RepKarenBass @repmarkpocan @RepJayapal @AOC @RepLawrence FOR FACEBOOK: Money for Mothers & Other Caregivers must be in every Stimulus Bill! https://bit.ly/Money4Caregivers #Money4Caregivers #CareIncomeNow #ChildBenefitNow @NancyPelosi @chuckschumer @mitchmcconnell @GwenSMoore @RepKarenBass @repmarkpocan @Pramila.Jayapal @OcasioCortez @Rep.BLawrence
Disabled people have described how they have been abandoned by the UK government, local authorities, and the supermarket giants, as they struggle to survive during the pandemic crisis.
Their descriptions of their experiences over the last two months are included in evidence provided by the pan-London disabled people’s organisation (DPO) Inclusion London to an inquiry by the House of Commons women and equalities committee.
Inclusion London has told the committee about the lived experiences of some of the nearly 300 disabled people who responded to a survey on the impact of the pandemic, as well as evidence from some of the 70 DPOs [disabled people’s organisations] Inclusion London supports in the capital.
Other user-led organisations have also shared their responses to the committee this week, with both Disability Rights UK and WinVisible revealing evidence of the serious impact that measures to tackle COVID-19 have had on disabled people.
All three DPOs have submitted their responses to the committee for its inquiry into the impact of the pandemic on groups protected under the Equality Act.
Inclusion London said its evidence showed that the reality for many disabled people who use social care was now “stark”, with staff shortages, a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), “sometimes a complete lack of communication or support from the local authority and high levels of anxiety and fear”.
It told the committee: “People are having to make an impossible choice of either protecting themselves and self-isolating without support or taking risks and receiving essential support even though this support might expose them to covid-19.”
One user of council-funded support told Inclusion London: “My care agency is not getting adequate PPE, and they are so short-staffed at present that I’ve been lucky to get a shower once a month.
“I am not getting one in three of my daily care calls.”
Another said they had had to “fight” for three weeks to obtain the PPE they needed for their personal assistants (PAs).
They added: “Social Services have been appalling. We feel abandoned. And despite being on the government’s vulnerable list, we can’t get a shopping delivery for another 10 days.”
Problems with securing food and other groceries were also mentioned frequently to Inclusion London.
One respondent said the supermarkets had “thrown their existing physically disabled customers under a bus”, after prioritising home deliveries for those with certain long-term health conditions who have been placed on the government’s “clinically extremely vulnerable” list.
Another said: “Being blind and living alone with no support nearby, I cannot physically attend a supermarket as I require a member of staff to guide me around the shop.
“I have no idea where my next meal is coming from.”
But Inclusion London’s evidence also included some positive examples of local authorities that have taken a “proactive approach” to disabled people’s rights.
Medway Council in Kent “mapped out existing support networks for each service user weeks before the lockdown” and then supplied PPE directly to service-users, as well as setting up a scheme in which available PAs could be redeployed to support other users of social care who were low on staff.
Hammersmith and Fulham council in London, which has been working closely with disabled people to co-produce policies, “reassured service users that existing levels of support would be maintained” and “allowed a lot of flexibility in terms of how social care needs can be met”.
And Tower Hamlets council in east London worked closely with the local DPO, Real, to ensure that disabled people’s social care needs were addressed.
Among concerns raised by Inclusion London in its evidence were the impact of the controversial guidance that was released – and later amended – by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on which patients should receive intensive care treatment, and letters some patients received from GPs encouraging them to agree to a “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) note being placed on their medical records.
One disabled person with a mental health condition who took part in the survey described how they had been too scared to leave their house for nearly a month – which left them feeling “trapped and controlled and claustrophobic” – because they now believed that “as someone with pre-existing conditions, doctors will leave me to die in favour of someone who has a better chance of surviving”.
Inclusion London said the government’s failure to assess the impact of its policy decisions on disabled people was “largely due” to its inability to engage with DPOs as it developed policies that made disabled people “doubt our lives are of equal value”.
Disability Rights UK (DR UK) told the women and equalities committee, in its submission to the inquiry, that the government’s decision to omit millions of disabled people from the “clinically extremely vulnerable” list left many of them “feeling anxious and unsupported”.
The lengthy delay in producing guidance for those on direct payments left disabled people “feeling extremely anxious about the steps they need to take, should they or their personal assistants become ill”, said DR UK.
And it said that the government’s emergency Coronavirus Act, “rather than introducing measures to provide increased support and protection to disabled adults and children, did the opposite”.
DR UK was also critical of the major supermarkets, for their “completely unacceptable” refusal to speak directly to disability organisations about the problems many disabled people were having in securing food.
DR UK also pointed to failings in accessible information, employment support, benefits, and higher education, and the failure to provide parents with the support and reasonable adjustments they need to educate their disabled children at home.
And it was critical of the government’s “single focus” on the NHS, telling the committee: “Whilst we applaud the amazing work of the NHS, both for the care it provides and for the way it has increased critical care capacity, we feel that the government should have adopted a more joined-up approach across health and social care from the outset, treating them as equal partners.
“Social care should have been given parity in terms of priority and investment, to support and protect disabled people and those with serious health conditions.
“Three and a half weeks after lockdown, a social care action plan was produced.
“Unfortunately, this was after many people in care homes had died.”
In its submission to the inquiry, WinVisible said the reality for disabled women was that measures being taken against coronavirus were “threatening our lives through starvation, denial of medical treatment and lack of social care daily living support”.
WinVisible said the controversial NICE guidance and the pressure to accept DNARs were reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s eugenics policies, which branded disabled people “useless eaters”.
And it raised concerns about guidance issued by NHS England last month (see separate story) which only allows a visitor to accompany a patient into hospital in four situations: if they are in labour; if they are receiving end-of-life care; if they are visiting their child; or if they are experiencing significant mental distress.
WinVisible pointed to one disabled woman who said: “If PAs and carers are not allowed to be with me, my life would be at immediate risk as I need experienced and appropriately skilled support with ongoing respiratory physio, operating various prescribed specialist equipment, assistance with personal care, and even to call a nurse as I am unable to press a call button.”
It also pointed to problems with securing food and groceries.
One disabled woman was unable to book a supermarket delivery slot or stand in a queue, and had to cancel her home help because they did not have the correct PPE.
When she cancelled her support, council staff initially told her she would still be charged for the service.
WinVisible also praised Hammersmith and Fulham council and called for other local authorities to follow its example.
But it warned: “Disabled people, family carers and others lobbied against the Coronavirus Act’s suspension of Care Act duties; and against denial of medical treatment; and told MPs that many people could die as a result of these policies.
“We fear that after the lockdown, many people will be found dead in their homes from lack of food/water and care.”
*Links to sources of information and support during the coronavirus pandemic include the following:
Mothers & Other Caregivers Demand Funds
in CARES 2 Stimulus Bill
Where is the relief package for us?
RE: CARES2 Stimulus Legislation
From: Every Mother is a Working Mother; Global Women’s Strike; Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike
Contact: Margaret Prescod 323-646-1269, Phoebe Jones 610-505-4944
Date: May 4, 2020
Mothers and other unwaged primary caregivers announced measures they say must be included in the current and future relief/stimulus legislation being debated in Congress. Caregivers, on whom so many depend, especially right now, desperately need elected officials to include money for unwaged caregivers, paid directly to the primary caregiver, in the CARES 2 Stimulus Package. We are frontline essential workers, but where is the relief package for us?
We join with caregivers in 35 countries who are demanding a Care Income for those now unwaged who are caring for children, elders, people with disabilities and for the environment. Our caregiving workload has increased substantially with Covid-19. Covid-19 exposed that caregivers are counted on for everyone’s survival, but rather than make resources available to us we are expected to work harder and without an income.
Those of us who are at risk of or are victims of domestic violence must have the resources to get to safety. Taking our children away by the child welfare system because we are poor or victims of domestic violence must end. Poverty was a crisis for us before Covid and has deepened since. 70% of the poor in the US are women and our children. The safety net must be restored and work requirements to get relief abolished. We agree with the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival who said: “Take away our poverty, not our children.”
The most impoverished caregivers and our families are hardest hit. Just look at the disproportionate infection and death rates among Black, Latino and Indigenous communities. Cash assistance and other resources must be available to the communities most affected.
The measures in response to COVID-19 show that the US government can take swift action and find money to deal with “emergencies” – it is a question of political will. And there is plenty of money: the US has 607 billionaires; the top eight richest billionaires own as much combined wealth as “half the human race”. The US military budget keeps rising and pays for bases all over the world. It’s about time caregivers are prioritized, this helps ensure health everywhere.
CARES 1 provided direct payments to some, but left out many while it profited large corporations and banks. Much more is needed and unwaged caregivers must be included.
For more on what caregivers and families are asking Representatives in Congress to fight for, see our full list of demands
· More healthcare is provided by unwaged caregivers than all healthcare institutions worldwide.
· $470 billion is the value of unwaged caregiving for adults (not even including care for children) in the US (AARP).
· 34 billion hours per day is how much time women & girls spend on caregiving work worldwide.
· $143,000 a year is what US moms would earn if we were paid for all the unwaged jobs we do, with overtime, according to Salary.com. · Yet women & children are 73% of the poor in the US.
Organizational Endorsers of the Open Letter to Governments – A Care Income Now!
#MeToo Survivors, US
Alexandria House, US
All Africa Women’s Group (AAWG), UK
Alliance for Global Justice, US
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Thailand
Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Malaysia
Auckland Feminist Action, New Zealand
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, UK
Bay Area Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, US
Black Women’s Rape Action Project, UK
Borstvoeding vzw, Belgium
California Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, US
Community WHRD Collective in Thailand, Thailand
Compassion in Care The Whistler, UK
Empower Foundation, Thailand
English Collective of Prostitutes, UK
Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, US
Experimental Experience C.I.C., UK
Family and Home Network, US
Feminist Legal Clinic Inc., Australia
Fuel Poverty Action, UK
GAIA Environmental Action and Intervention group, Portugal
Global Justice Rebellion, UK
Global Women Against Deportations, UK
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, US
Hampshire County Federation of WI’s, UK
Help & Shelter, Guyana
Howie Hawkins for President 2020 (Green Party), US
International Black Women for Wages for Housework, US
International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, Belgium
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific), Malaysia
International Women’s Strike/LA, US
Justice for Peace Foundation, Thailand
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, UK
l’amie de Maimie, Canada
Legal Action for Women, UK
Leicester Mammas, UK
Lewisham Housing Forum, UK
Los Angeles Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, US
MAP Foundation, Thailand
Migrant Sex Workers Project, Canada
Migrant Women’s Network, Thailand
Milk of Human Kindness, UK
Naked Punch Review, Pakistan
National Ugly Mugs (NUM), UK
National Welfare Rights Union, US
Non Una Di Meno – Modena, Italy
Old Women’s Project, US
Parents for Inclusion Newham, UK
Payday men’s network US/UK
Philly Childcare Collective, US
Planning for Sustainable Communities, US
PM Press, US
Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility, UK
Public Carers, UK
Put People First! PA, US
Queer Strike, UK
Reclaim the Power, UK
Red Thread, Guyana
Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research (RAPAR), UK
Research and Degrowth Barcelona (RnD), Spain
Save Liverpool Womens Hospital, UK
Scottish Kinship Care Alliance, Scotland
Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement, UK
Sex Worker’s Opera, UK
She’s got the power, Russia
Sibling Arts C.I.C., UK
Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, UK
Sisters Health & Wellness Collective, US
Somood Women, Palestine
Success Capital Organisation, Botswana
Support Not Separation, UK
Sussex Refugee and Migrants Self Support Group, UK
SWAI and Intersex Ireland, Ireland
The invisible labor union, US
US PROStitutes Collective, US
WAYVE Foundation, India
Welfare Warriors, US
Winvisible – women with visible and invisible disabilities, UK
Women Against Military Madness, US
Women Against Rape (UK)
Women’s League of Burma, Myanmar
World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTI) UK Steering Group, UK
Individual Endorsers of the Open Letter to Governments – A Care Income Now!
Adeline Berry, SWAI and Intersex Ireland, Ireland
Alena Popova, She’s got the power, Russia
Alexandra Olsson, Sweden
Alexi Dimond, UK
Alexia Tsouni, FemArtAct, Greece
Aline Fantinatti, UK
Alissa Trotz, Canada
Allison Hackman, US
Amanda Mary Walsh, UK
Amelia Was, UK
Amina Zoomkawala, Pakistan
Amy Pritchard, UK
An Cliquet, Belgium
Ana Orozco, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, US
Andrea Salinas, US
Andrew Feinstein, UK
Andro Rilović, Croatia
Angela Miles, US
Angela Qasir, UK
Angkhana Neelapaijit, Justice for Peace Foundation, Thailand
Anna Jonsson, US
Anna Kerr, Feminist Legal Clinic Inc., Australia
Anna Kliampa, Greece
Anna Tautfest, Germany
Anna Willats, Canada
Anne Bluethenthal, US
Anne Bluethenthal, US
Anne Hall, UK
Anne May, Germany
Anne Neale, Support Not Separation, UK
Antoinette Holm, Australia
Antonella Picchio, Italy
Antonio Maria Pusceddu, Portugal
Arielle Solomon, US
ARROW, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Malaysia
Asantewaa Gail Harris, Sisters Health & Wellness Collective, US
Azhar Ali Comrade, Pakistan
Bama Athreya, US
Barbara Le Fevre, UK
Baworowska, Winvisible – women with visible and invisible disabilities, UK
Bea Hughes, UK
Beatrice Millar, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility, UK
Beeke Bartelt, Germany
Begoña Dorronsoro, Portugal
Blythe Pepino, BirthStrike, UK
Brahm Press, MAP Foundation, Thailand
Brent Bleys, Belgium
Brian Emerson, Spain
Brindusa Nistor, Spain
Britta Boutry-Stadelmann, Switzerland
Brittany Martinez-Hewitt, US
Buddy Bell, US
Bue Rübner Hansen, Denmark
Camilla Macciani, Italy
Camilla Pin, Italy
Cari Mitchell, English Collective of Prostitutes, UK
Carlotta Cossutta, Italy
Carol Crooks, US
Carolyn Kagan, UK
Catherine H. Myers, Family and Home Network, US
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, US
Chanelle Gallant, Migrant Sex Workers Project, Canada
Charlotte Bollaert, Belgium
Charlotte Pattyn, Belgium
Charlotte Perka, Germany
Cherry Salmon, UK
Cheryl McLeod, Lewisham Housing Forum, UK
Chloe Dominique, UK
Christine Hemmingway, UK
Claire Jenkinson, UK
Claudia Mignone, Italy/Netherlands
Constanza Pauchulo, International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific), Malaysia
Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project, UK
Cristel Amiss, Global Women Against Deportations, UK
Daisy Rimmer, UK
Daniel Selwyn, UK
Daniela Subtil Fialho, Germany
Danuta Radzik, Guyana
Daphne Muse, US
Dave Backer, US
Debbie Stothard, ALTSEAN-Burma, Thailand
Deirdre Haslam, UK
Deirdre Haslam, UK
Diana Bohn, US
Diana Richardson, US
Didi Rossi, Queer Strike, UK
Domenico Morabito, Italy
Dominique Just, Germany
Don Timmerman, US
Donna Barnett, UK
Dorotea Manuela, US
Dr Andrew Fanning, UK
Dr Jonathan Fluxman, UK
Dr Philip Cox, UK
Dr Rhetta Moran, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research (RAPAR), UK
Dr. Raven Bowen, National Ugly Mugs (NUM), UK
Dr. Susan Curtiss, US
Dumiso Gatsha, Success Capital Organisation, Botswana
Ed Romano, US
Edith Bendicente, Italy
Eeva Houtbeckers, Finland
Eileen Chubb, Compassion in Care The Whistler, UK
Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Sweden
Elena Pagani, UK
Elena Roveda, Italy
Elena Shih, US
Eleni Sotiriou, Greece
Eliana Darroch, Auckland Feminist Action, New Zealand
Elizabeth W. Morris, Planning for Sustainable Communities, US
Ellen E Barfield, US
Ellen Helker-Nygren, Canada
Ellen Reese, US
Elvira Lamanna, Italy
Eman Salah, Somood Women, Palestine
Emanuela Bianchi, UK
Eric Gjertsen, Payday men’s network US/UK
Eurydice Aroney, Australia
Experimental Experience C.I.C., UK
Fe Haslam, UK
Felicia Kornbluh, US
Femke Lootens, Belgium
Fenja Jacobs, Germany
Frances Howe, UK
Francesca Brusa, Italy
Francesca Saccomandi, Italy
Francesco Sticchi, UK
Frank Duhl, US
Gem Shekerzade, UK
Gemeena Scruggs, US
Gemma Rogers, UK
Gerd Van Kogelenberg, Borstvoeding vzw, Belgium
Giacomo D’Alisa, Research and Degrowth Barcelona (RnD), Spain
Giulia Armiero, UK
Gwyneth Lonergan, UK
Hannah Grün, Germany
Hannah Leach, Germany
Hannah Madden, UK
Harriet Heath, US
Hasne Ara Begum, Bangladesh
Hazel Tilley, UK
Helen Dickson, UK
Helen Gray, World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTI) UK Steering Group, UK
Heston Michaels, UK
Hilary Williams, UK
Holly Jones, UK
Howie Hawkins, Howie Hawkins for President 2020 (Green Party), US
Huzaifa Zoomkawala, Pakistan
Ian Hodson, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, UK
Ilenia Iengo, Italy
Inez Dekker, The Netherlands
Irene Montantes, US
Jackie Pollock, UK
Jacob Berkson, UK
James Jordan, Alliance for Global Justice, US
Jan Schwartz, US
Jane Binkerd, US
Jane Welford, US
Janet Molina Maturano, Belgium
Janice Jackson, US
Jasmin Horne, US
Jim Yarbrough, US
Joana Sousa, Portugal
Jonas Van der Slycken, Belgium
Jorn Van de Velde, Belgium
Joseph Keady, US
Josephine Whitehead, Help & Shelter, Guyana
Joy Marcus, Guyana
judith Schicklinski, Colombia
Julia Davis, US
Kanchana Di-ut, Thailand
Karen de Souza, Red Thread, Guyana
Karen Stamm, US
Kate Grodd, US
Kate Litman, UK
Kate Perris, UK
Kath Gilbert, UK
Katharine Bligh, UK
Katherine Fillare, US
Kathleen Billus, US
Kim Davis, Globallyaware, Australia
Kim Sparrow, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, UK
Koenraad Bogaert, Belgium
Kristin Dooley, Women Against Military Madness, US
Kunlanat Jirawong-aram, Spain
Lanka Horstink, GAIA Environmental Action and Intervention group, Portugal
Laura Guidi, Italy
Laura Murray, Brazil
Laura Schwartz, UK
Lea Johnson, US
Leanna Coleman, UK
Leen Bervoets, Belgium
Lesley Mahmood, UK
Leticia Sabsay, UK
Liba Ravindran, UK
Linda Ray, US
Linda Sudak, US
Lisa Carroll, US
Lisa Holmes, UK
Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape (UK)
Lisa Pedersen, US
Lois Helmbold, US
Lorenzo Velotti, UK
Lorry Leader, UK
Louison Cahen-Fourot, France
Luca Stevenson, International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, Belgium
Lucia Inama, Italy
Luciana Talamonti, Italy
Lucilla Lepratti, Germany
Lucille, All Africa Women’s Group (AAWG), UK
Lukas Hardt, UK
Luqman Temitayo Onikosi, Sussex Refugee and Migrants Self Support Group, UK
Lydia Makrides, Greece
Madaraka Nyerere, Tanzania
Maddalena Fragnito, Italy
Mai Jantawong, Community WHRD Collective in Thailand, Thailand
Mai Mai, Migrant Women’s Network, Thailand
Mandy Cann, UK
Mandy Coghill, UK
Mannie Garza, Old Women’s Project, US
Manuel Bivar, Portugal
Mar Garrido Villaespesa, Spain
Marco Antonio Sampaio Malagoli, Brasil
Margaret McDonald, UK
Margaret Prescod, International Black Women for Wages for Housework, US
Maria Albà, Spain
Maria Federica Palestino, Italy
Maria Osman, Australia
Marie Fitzpatrick, US
Marie Lynam, UK
Marion Garza, US
Markus Hüppauf, Germany
Markus Krecik, Germany
Marta Guttenberg, US
Martha Dickson, UK
Mary Syrett, Australia
Maryam Talaie, US
Maureen Levenson, Hampshire County Federation of WI’s, UK
Melanie Strickland, UK
Meri Jalonen, Finland
Mezna Qato, UK
Micheleine Kane, Scottish Kinship Care Alliance, Scotland
Michelle Tonn, US
Miriam Oppenheimer, US
Misun Woo, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Thailand
Monim Albeer, UK
Morgan M Page, UK
Morgane Fouse, US
Mylene Carberry, US
Naima Camara, UK
Nang Zarm Moun Hseng, Myanmar
Nasreen Mahmud, US
Nathaporn Ongwisith, Thailand
National Welfare Rights Union, US
Nell Myhand, US
Niamh Eastwood, Release, UK
Nicola Saville, Global Justice Rebellion, UK
Nijmie Dzurinko, Put People First! PA, US
Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women, UK
Nina Houghton, Save Liverpool Womens Hospital, UK
Nina Lopez, UK
Noemi Valentini, Italy
Nohad Nassif, US
Non Una Di Meno – Modena, Italy
Nora Roman, US
Olivia Qasir, UK
Owen Holland, UK
Paki Wieland, US
Pandora Pavlides, UK
Paradise Razma, US
Pat Albright, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, US
Pat Gowens, Welfare Warriors, US
Patricia Alves de Matos, Portugal
Patricia Hatherly, Australia
Patricia Scott, UK
Patti Maciesz, The invisible labor union, US
Paula Teran, US
Per Faaland, US
Persephone Davies, UK
Phoebe Jones, US
Pippa Curwen, Thailand
PM Press, US
Pornpit Puckmai, Thailand
Pranom Somwong, Thailand
Priyanka Poddar, UK
Qalandar Memon, Naked Punch Review, Pakistan
Rachel West, US PROStitutes Collective, US
Rafailia Varonou, Greece
Rande Webster, US
Reclaim the Power, UK
Reiko Harima, Japan
Rianka Gill, UK
Riva Joffe, UK
Robert Benson, US
Roberto Luis Ellis, Germany
Robin Markle, Philly Childcare Collective, US
Rona Rothman, US
Rosalie Allain, UK
Rosalind, #MeToo Survivors, US
Rosamine Hayeem, Public Carers, UK
Rosie Rimmer, UK
Rowan Milligan, UK
Ruth London, Fuel Poverty Action, UK
S. Wildman, UK
Saleh Mamon, UK
Sally Etheridge, Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, UK
Sally Etheridge, Leicester Mammas, UK
Sandra Killett, US
Sarah Ernst, Germany
Sarifa Patel, Parents for Inclusion Newham, UK
Sarolta Cump, US
Saskia Ackermann, Germany
Serayna Solanki, UK
Sex Worker’s Opera, UK
Shaan Saggar, Australia
Sharon Byers, US
Shauna Gunderson, US
Shelley Angelie Saggar, UK
Sherlina Nageer, Guyana
Sibling Arts C.I.C., UK
Sidney Ross-Risden, International Women’s Strike/LA, US
Sigrid Vertommen, Belgium
Sister Judy Vaughan, Alexandria House, US
Sofia Bempeza, Greece
Sofia Oleas, US
Solveig, Milk of Human Kindness, UK
Sophie Gale, UK
Souryan Mookerjea, Canada
Stefan Mildenberger, Germany
Stella, l’amie de Maimie, Canada
Susan Arthur, US
Susan Haywood, US
SWARM, Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement, UK
Syed Hasan Raihan, WAYVE Foundation, India
Symran Saggar, Australia
Tamirhis Fortunata Dandolo, Italy
Tegan Barrett-mcguin, Australia
Teresa MacKay, UK
Teresa Muldrow, US
Thanks Laovilawanyakul, Empower Foundation, Thailand
Tina Stahl, Germany
Tony Hemmingway, UK
Tracey Dunn, UK
Trupti Patel, UK
Truus Jansen, UK
Val Gillies, UK
Valeria Passeri, Italy
Vanda Radzik, Guyana
Vanessa Olesen, US
Vanneuville Martine, Belgium
Victoria Childs, UK
Virginia Hollins-Davidson, US
Women’s League of Burma, Myanmar
Ying Tzarm, Myanmar
YuLing Koh Hsu, US
Zeenat Suleman, UK
Luz Rosadio Cayllahua, Austria
35 Countries represented in endorsers of the Open Letter to Governments – A Care Income Now!
Selma James, Care Income Now webinar, 3 April 2020
First I’d like to introduce Selma James, delighted to introduce Selma, who is the founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign way back in 1972. She is the coordinator of the Global Women’s Strike. She is the author of many feminist classics, including the forthcoming publication, Our Time Is Now: Sex, Race, Class, and Caring for People and Planet. Selma James.
Thank you, Margaret. Thank you, I’m very glad to be on. We found the Green New Deal for Europe when we saw that they had come out for a Care Income. As Margaret has explained, we have been fighting for the recognition and payment of caring for many years, but now, it was for a care income, that is, for the care of people, and for the care of the planet, which meant that what the Green New Deal for Europe was proposing was that the two great movements for the liberation of the human race and the care of people, and the treatment of the planet which would enable it to regenerate and survive, were coming together, these two movements so that work for caring for people and work for caring for the environment, would both be work that was respected and paid for. Now I want to make it clear that payment was not because the work was worth so much. It was because the work was invaluable. And therefore the people who did this work had to be remunerated in ways that would enable them to live a decent life. That would first of all be the liberation of women. We would be liberated from our poverty, from our overwork, from our subservience. And this would enable us to be full participants in the transformation of the world. It would also mean the liberation of the waged worker, not merely the unwaged woman, the carer, the reproducer of the human race, but all of us who go out to work, who have very little ourselves, but who are involved as work– as things we must do — in polluting the planet. We don’t want to do that work. We don’t want to do it because we hate the work, and because the work and what it performs is not what we need, not what we want, we want exactly the opposite. So this was our chance, really to bring the movements together and prioritize the work that women do, the caring work that women do, which would enable us to have a new perspective for the economy and for everything in the world, which would be that people are what mattered, that the planet is what mattered, not profit or the market.
I want to make just one other point. It says the Green New Deal for Europe, but it is first of all international in its outlook. And we are international in the way we are proceeding for the care income everywhere in the world. We have some things that we want to say about it. First of all, we look at the struggles that women and men in the South have made and we begin to see the outline of what they want to produce. And we have to in the way of a new society, and a society that is liberated, and not exploitative. And from there we can begin to understand what we are part of because that is our movement to. But in addition, it is a movement against the new exploitation, which the West has been imposing, and which it calls green technology, green technology can be read that you paint exploitation green. We have none of it, we are against it, we are part of the struggle against it, we refuse it. We also must say, we in Europe must say, that the resources that are in Europe are at the disposal of every movement beginning, perhaps, in the South which has been robbed most generously by the North.
I just want to say that the speakers today are beginning to explore another way of looking at the ecology movement, and it does the job I think of beginning to demystify waged work. We women have been told that to go — in the West especially, but everywhere — have been told that going out to work is a liberation, we never believed it, and people who have done that work like myself are outraged, that exploitation of any sort, but exploitation of women especially, anywhere, is a liberation. I want to make just one final point. And that is: what we are proposing is the end of overwork and poverty. And that’s where we want to go.
Stefania Barca & Giacomo D’Alisa, Care Income Now webinar 3 April 2020
The Care Income as a core proposal of the Green New Deal for Europe
Stefania Barca & Giacomo D’Alisa (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)
In early January of this year, the European Commission approved the Green Deal, an investment plan to reduce carbon emissions. This is a neoliberal response to the climate protests of the past few years. The Commission’s plan is based on principles of green growth: it gives money to the private sector to invest in greening production. It is informed by the perverse logic of trickle-down economics: only if the market economy grows does funding become available to compensate for the damage caused by growth itself, including climate change and increasing inequalities.
This however is not the only plan available. In the same months in which the Commission’s plan was in preparation, a network of researchers, intellectuals and activists from all over Europe was working on an alternative plan, to be included in a large campaign of mobilization for the democratization of the European economy and anti-crisis policies. The result was the Green New Deal for Europe (GNDE), centered on a document entitled A Blueprint for Europe’s Just Transition.
The difference is radical. GNDE is based on redistributive public finance criteria which give priority to the fight against inequalities and environmental injustice and to economic democracy, and rejects the priority of GDP growth over social policies. While that of the Commission is a top-down program, addressed to the governments of EU countries to adopt market incentives for the benefit of companies, GNDE is a political platform, a strategic project aimed at urging broad mobilizations from below.
GNDE is a set of policies whose main objective is the systemic transformation of European Institutions for making possible an equitable running of the economy, without growth, so that the climate and ecology can be rapidly repaired while also granting social justice. I want to signal two key mechanisms i.e. the institution of
- a new public agency — the Green Public Works — that gives money to local communities to generate millions of new, public jobs in climate restoration projects
- an Environmental Justice Commission, an independent body to research, monitor, and advise EU policymakers to advance the cause of environmental justice across Europe and around the world.
In our opinion, the GNDE represents a historic opportunity for an economic revolution orientated by feminist and environmental justice principles. To ensure an equitable transition to a ‘post-carbon’ economy, the plan shifts the focus of collective wellbeing and welfare creation from industrial production to social and environmental reproduction, i.e. the maintenance, recycling, repair and restoration of environmental and social infrastructures, in short, to the work of care – both for people and for the environment.
The Care Income is a key pillar of the GNDE. BY CI we mean direct and indirect compensation to be made available to all those who are engaged in life supporting activities, e.g. the care of people and / or of the urban and rural environments that make life possible both in the home and in the community and ecosystem.
We know from decades of ecofeminist struggles and from the environmental justice movement – mostly led by racialized or working-class women all over the world – we have learned from them about the nexus between human bodies and their environments, and between the work of caring for human life and health and the work of caring for water, air, soil, forests, and the nonhuman world that supports life everywhere. This nexus, that is so difficult to recognize for politicians and economists, is clear and obvious for millions of people everywhere, and is becoming centerpiece in the new climate justice movement, including the younger generations.
The CI proposal reflects this long-standing socio-ecological awareness, and gives it full expression in terms of economic policy. The CI aims to compensate, directly and indirectly, all the work that countless people are already doing to support life against capital, for example by organizing collective defense against extractivism and ecological degradation, or by thousands alternative practices at the community level, that contribute to the rehabilitation and care of the commons. These practices of care for life have been fundamental to sustaining the human community through the Covid pandemic, and are greatly supporting our ability to respond to it. It is high time to recognize that this is the kind of work that societies truly need, and to reward it fairly so that our wealth does not depend anymore on jobs that deplete our bodies and destroy the natural world in a vicious circle of profit from degradation.
In short, the CI is based on principles of ecofeminism and environmental justice. It recognizes the structural interdependencies between human and nonhuman wellbeing, between people’s and environmental health, and supports the work of those who are taking care of it. Therefore, the CI does not advocate for social policies based on oil-related income coming from extractive activities, which destroy the nonhuman world, compromise food sovereignty, and imply the sacrifice of some territories and the communities who inhabit them. Inspired by ecofeminist and Indigenous visions and struggles, the CI recognizes that the only possible long-term wealth and prosperity is that founded on reconnecting the human with the web of life.
Incorporating this proposal within its overall plan of financial and policy measures, the GNDE demonstrates that such revolutionary idea of wealth is not only necessary, but also possible. It is a matter of political will, and this will must be solicited via struggles from the largest possible social coalitions. The CI, we believe, is a key strategic demand of the GNDE, one that responds to true social needs – especially at a time of enormous overburdening of care work like the one we are going through.
It is important to mention that the CI is fundamentally different from other proposals of basic income in one respect: it does not represent an abstract, universal right to income that is equal for anyone, independently on their social position, but rather a recognition and valuation of the immense amount of reproductive and care work that is normally expended in any society, a recognition of how this work is fundamentally needed to enhance life, and is equally, if not more important than so-called productive work. The aim of the CI is not, like in universal basic income, that of guaranteeing a minimum level of access to goods and services on the part of everyone. It is is, on the contrary, that of fairly compensating the contribution that reproductive workers give to society and the planet – work that is normalized and invisible. By compensating it both directly and indirectly, the CI makes this work a cornerstone of social wealth. In short, the CI is not universal and abstract but embodied and materialist.
It is worth repeating, before ending my talk, that the CI is not a ‘unique solution’ for all social problems, but one among a number of policy measures that are articulated with each other to respond to the unprecedented crisis of our times. I just want to mention two very important demands that the GNDE articulates with the CI in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
- To Adopt a European Health and Care Standard that raises the bar for decent health and universal social protection provision and directs resources toward regions that fall below this standard, to begin rebalancing health and care outcomes across Europe.
- To Fund a major buy-back programme for vacant housing stock. Social distancing is a privilege that is not available to everyone. With 38 million vacant homes around the continent, Europe can provide shelter for all who need it.
To conclude: We think the GNDE campaign is a historic opportunity and a resource of enormous importance for developing a feminist rethinking of the economy, capable of meeting the climate challenge of our time.
Sam Weinstein, Care Income Now webinar 3 April 2020
First let me say that Payday is a network of men working with the Global Women’s Strike internationally. We are delighted to endorse the Care Income Now campaign. While the vast majority of carers are women, there are men who do the work and deserve the money like our sisters.
But overwhelmingly men are either a reserve army of labour – or locked into jobs that pollute, destroy, police or maim both the worker and her/his community including his own family. As one retired worker said you are “trading your body for money, selling your health to support your family.” But if you are unemployed you feel desperate to get one of those jobs where you spend your time literally wishing your life away while the work itself shortens it. One guy standing in front of me waiting in a line of several hundred for an assembly line job interview at Chrysler said, “You’ll do anything to get into the motherfucker, and when you’re in, you can’t wait to get out!” We all agreed.
In my experience, most people hate their jobs and spend their lives trying to avoid work. They want to do something else. A care income would be an encouragement and make that possible.
Ever since the industrial revolution there has been a huge social movement to make the environment of the worker safe. Yet to this day 2.8 million people die every year from work related disease and injury, and 374 million suffer non-fatal injuries on the job.
I carry permanent injuries and scars from nearly every manual labour job I ever did. On the blast furnace the heat was so intense that despite protective clothing, it dried my knuckles up and I literally had to ply my fingers open every morning. When I blew my nose, it came out black and that continued for weeks after I quit the job. I won’t bore you with the rest.
One job with untold casualties each year is not counted in these work-related stats, but is particularly associated with being a “real man”: it’s the military. Be all you can be. They don’t want us to know the total number of either military or civilian casualties of endless wars. We do know that the US military, the single greatest polluter on earth, has been fighting environmentally devastating wars in the middle-east to protect the largest polluting industry of all – oil and gas.
Payday has a long history of supporting whistleblowers and people who refuse to do the killing work of the military, like Stephen Funk, Ehrin Watada, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and the many Israeli conscripts who have gone to jail repeatedly rather than participate in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Payday’s slogan is “Refusing to kill or be killed”.
And I suspect the earlier statistics don’t include so called “factory farms” where much of our food is grown, picked often by migrant workers made up of whole families that take the brunt of literally back-breaking work and oceans of poisonous pesticides with which the crops are bombed, and which all of us later consume. There is now a massive movement for regenerative farming, about which Dean who is on this call, will hopefully say more later.
The earlier disease and injury stats are dwarfed by the more than 4 million deaths annually from exposure to household air pollution due to the unpaid work of cooking on inefficient biomass stoves, overwhelmingly poor women of colour in the Global South. Talk about needing a care income and a lot of workers compensation!
On top of pollution and destruction of the worker is the pollution and destruction of the worker’s community. The most polluting factories are inevitably located in the poorest areas. Bhopal and Chernobyl are 2 of the best-known industrial disasters, each costing thousands of lives in their surrounding communities, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.
A lot of white-collar work is also unnecessary, mind-numbing, or support for the deadly physical work I mentioned before. A few words about “unnecessary”. When I was a gas man, a lot of the work I did, was on meters, or collecting bills from people who couldn’t afford to pay. It was useless work done to make a profit for the company by policing consumers based on their need for heating and cooking – things that should be a human right. There are lots of jobs like that.
But there are notable examples of men making a fight for the right to be carers or to make things not destructive of society. The Lucas plan in the 70’s was just such an attempt. Faced with downsizing, workers at Lucas Aerospace making military equipment proposed to management that they stop producing weapons, but instead retool to develop socially useful goods, like solar heating equipment and artificial kidneys. They wanted to design the work so that the workers would be motivated by the social value of the work they were actually doing. Unfortunately these workers got little support from the union, and some were fired by an outraged company.
Most unions have been unwilling to challenge management’s prerogative to manage what is produced in the workplace: the bureaucracy is terrified of both losing it membership and therefore the institution and their jobs, but also of their members being driven into the ranks of the unemployed. Blind to campaigning for something like the care income, they end up supporting the employer however harmful to their members and the community at large. But not all. It is wonderful to see that the Bakers Union in the UK have endorsed this campaign!
Also, in Germany a few years ago 11/2 million members of IG Metall, a heavy engineering union, went on strike for the right to work only 28 hours per week at full pay with the intent of taking more responsibility for their families. The men believed that the way to achieve a shorter workweek was to demand the time and money for caring work. They didn’t win everything, but as one union spokesperson said, “we want employers to recognise that traditional gender roles in modern families are changing, and we want workers to have the chance to do work that is important to society.” Obviously caring work in the family was a lot more important to society than what was being done in the engineering sector.
And a few days ago workers building military aircraft engines at a General Electric plant in Massachusetts walked off the job demanding that production be shifted to the urgent necessity of breathing ventilators. A demand to invest in caring not killing!
Margaret mentioned that I was involved in a huge pay equity settlement. We put the largest classification of women (those who worked in the call centre) on the same pay scale as the largest classification of men who worked as I had, in and around customer’s homes – a raise of 13% for the women. The methodology broke the jobs down into their constituent parts and showed that the women in the call centre, the shock absorbers for the gas co., were multitasking in a similar way to managers, a skill that most of the women used regularly doing unpaid work in the home.
But once we raised call centre pay, guess what? Men poured into the job. Pay the women properly and the men will come.
Let me end by saying we don’t know what work is really necessary. The military is not. We know that care work is, and a care income is an invitation to do that work, – and the beginning of finding out about all the rest. Thank you.
Solvieg Frances, Care Income Webinar 3 Apr 2020
IMPLICATIONS OF A CARE INCOME FOR BREASTFEEDING
Everything about breastfeeding makes sense, and many of us will already have a good idea of its multitude of benefits as a superfood for babies. The body that makes the baby brilliantly prepares its food supply as well.
Breastmilk provides a powerful immunity boost, the proper amount of antibodies and nutrients to protect babies health. Breastfeeding continues the work of the placenta. It is part of making a human being, all animals, and we must do as much as we can not to leave that part out.
Breastfed babies are less prone to potentially fatal illness – diarrhoea, respiratory and ear infections, and more. In fact they are 10 times less likely to die before one year. Benefits are life long – e.g less Type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, allergies, and various cancers. This is a short list. It could not be more vital protection against coronavirus and air pollution. In China, a breastfed baby, whose mother was a coronavirus survivor, also acquired the antibodies against the virus.
Breastfeeding saves mothers’ lives, e.g. less haemorrhaging after birth, fewer breast, ovarian and cervical cancers. It considerably reduces fertility which helps with birth spacing.
And while expensive formula ravages the environment at every stage of its production, breastfeeding is the most sustainable food going. A favourite breastfeeding placard at our centre is ‘Plastic-Free, Beautifully Packaged’.
What doesn’t make sense then is that breastfeeding mothers are not recognised as key workers. Breastfeeding is not seen as an essential part of our caring work that is both biological and social, and makes an enormous economic contribution such as savings to health services. E.g a UNICEF UK study found that even a small increase in breastfeeding would lead to savings to the NHS of £44 million a year through fewer hospital admission for three common childhood illnesses. We are not supported in that work, and often don’t have financial or food security during this critical period of new life. We can even be punished for breastfeeding.
A sad UK statistic is that 81% of mothers start breastfeeding, but over a third stop by six weeks. 1% of us make it to the recommended six months exclusive breastfeeding. Many say they stop earlier than they wanted because of lack of support and financial pressures. The US is a bit better, but far from good enough. Rates will vary in the countries represented in this webinar. But breastfeeding is under attack everywhere and has been for decades.
Paid maternity leave where we’ve won it is often too low. Here it is paid at less than a third of the average wage, pushing us to return to work sooner. The huge social and political pressure that women must have a job out of the home, no matter what that work is, or the age of the child, devalues our caring work. For women on welfare that is enforced by compulsory interviews and sanctions.
Breastfeeding mothers in prison are separated from their babies, as they can be in asylum detention. Social workers and the family courts don’t hesitate to brutally snatch a breastfeeding child into care, or hand custody to the father.
The cost in lives is staggering – worldwide over 800,000 babies under one, mostly in countries of the Global South, die every year from lack of breastfeeding. A silent genocide goes on while the multi-national formula industry racks up profits of over $70 billion.
What could it mean if breastfeeding mothers were paid a Care Income. We get a sense where breastfeeding mothers are valued.
In Norway 99% of women start breastfeeding; 80% still are at six months. It wasn’t always like that. In the 70s a mother-led campaign forced the government to act. Formula advertising was banned. Breastmilk is valued in the Gross National Product. Maternity leave is 49 weeks at full pay, with more paid leave after that. Breastfeeding breaks are paid.
In Quebec breastfeeding mothers on welfare receive an additional $55 a month Nursing Benefit for one year to help them buy healthy food.
In a UK trial, new mothers in a working-class community were paid £200 in shopping vouchers to breastfeed. Noticeably more mothers breastfed and for longer. Imagine the result if it was a guaranteed cash income to breastfeed for as long as the World Health Organisation recommends!
The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India and International Baby Food Action Network point out in their report on breastfeeding and the environment: If all the immense resource costs of formula feeding were properly accounted for, the baby food industry would be closed down and mothers paid to breastfeed.
Investment in breastfeeding always pays off. In Peru, implementation of a national strategy between 2000 and 2013 (including baby-friendly hospitals; training of health workers, legal restrictions on marketing of formula) increased exclusive breastfeeding for six months from 57% of babies to 67.5%, one of the highest in Latin America and the world.
Parts of Africa remain bastions of breastfeeding that must be protected and spread for all of our sakes and the planet’s. Even low-income countries provide paid breastfeeding breaks, e.g. Rwanda and Tanzania. At community level a strong breastfeeding culture is upheld, for example, grandmothers led the fight against their daughters being pressured to feed their infants formula during the HIV crisis, knowing that formula was a death sentence. This led to a change in policy.
Some things that a care income, whatever form it takes, for this life-supporting work could do: validate and strengthen our struggles everywhere to defend breastfeeding; undermine formula industry lies and profits, and put resources to support breastfeeding our way; help us, our loved ones and society generally respect our biological and caring work. It would enable us to have food security, allow us the time to prioritise breastfeeding over other worries and demands. It would help provide our children with what they need. Babies need breastmilk; to be in close physical contact with their mother, and for their caregivers to be supported in every possible way.
Pranom Somwong – Webinar Care Income Now 3 Apr 2020
Bee talk exploring the implications of a campaign for a Care Income, North and South, to stop climate change, promote caring work for people and planet, and refuse work that is destructive to the environment and to the worker.
Those of you here last time already heard from liz and empower that Women in Thailand carry the responsibility of caring for our extended family that goes same with women in other country in Asia and Latin America.
Let start a bit on context:
Rural Indigenous and urban poor women have been organizing and fighting to be included in public consultation and decision-making process, especially regarding issues of land occupancy and management of natural resources. Women who are human rights defenders live and work in the same repressive environment as other women; facing the same barriers and carrying the same responsibilities of care (for example daily working for at least 12 hours without pay)
However those who become WHRDs significantly increase both their burden of care and their risks. Many people have been killed or disappeared simply for trying to protect life, land and the environment. Community based WHRDs especially have been denied the right to formal education, and have little access to resources or financial support for their work. By taking leadership in the fight for human rights WHRDs break with tradition and can be punished for not complying with the rigid class and gender roles.
For example, at-risk women defenders in Mesoamerica consistently report that being shamed as a ‘bad mother’ or being accused of having affairs is devastating because it creates conflict within their own families, the one place that should provide a sense of belonging and security.
Around the world. The perception of women as the primary caregivers, as well as the reality that women are often responsible for the care of family members, plays an important part in the motivation of perpetrators to target their family members .
In last 5 years the poverty rate in Thailand grew from 7.21% to 9.85% and the absolute number of people living in poverty increased from 4.85 million to more than 6.7 million. The military men in power keep using public resources to benefit their own interests. There is an increase in land confiscation and a lack of consultation on the introduction of infrastructure projects/ the environment is being poisoned and extractive industries are expanding. Families and communities are being displaced throughout Thailand and around the world, impacting particularly on women.
Most of womenHRDs I work for and with are caring for land, the environment and for people. They provide food security to family and community. Rural women’s care role includes farming and caring for community. Rural women in all of the villages play a major role in all aspects of growing rice. Including seed preparation, transplanting, weeding, compost application, and harvesting. This is the unwaged work of rural women in addition to family care in the home.
One community, The southern peasant federations of Thailand the SPFT was created in 2008 when a handful of farming communities’ women and men met and agreed that their existence and survival were rooted in their connections to the land and to each other. They farm land collectively. The women of (SPFT) lead the SPFT’s seed-saving initiatives. SPFT has been engaged in a struggle for the right to use the land with Palm Oil Company for over a decade. The risky and exhausting work of resistance is another part of SPFT women’s caring work.
WHRDs and their movement are not just the targets of violence; they are also innovators of effective self-defense strategies as a matter of survival and resistance. Many grassroots organizations and networks integrate some form of self-defense and solidarity into their ways of organizing. They are determined to be an autonomous, self-sustaining group actively contributing to the new form of social, economy and political relations.
.For example, the Quiché women of Guatemala defend their territory primarily through decision-making assemblies, communal care, economic solidarity, community guard forces, and emergency communication plans, enabling them to both prevent extractive companies from entering their land, but also creating an alternative way of living.
The international community has much to learn from the approaches of grassroots movements and communities. In one community in north east of Thailand, NongBualanphu have been fighting against stone mining for 26 years (have lost 4 members of their group)
Some academic have found that the collects 70, 000 Kgs of bamboo shoots from the forest. This is the forest they fight to protect and it is better than a supermarket for the women since it have mushroom, bamboo shoot and many herbs that valued over 3 million dollars a year.
The collective of Women defending rights have also made important contributions to how we understand risk and protection. They help us see how women play a critical—though not formally recognized, still very invisible —role in defending rights in their communities and families, such as the many mothers and sisters who are in pursuit of justice for loved ones. Not only to defend themselves but to defend men, which is what women were also doing; when men were being persecuted, women had campaigns against false arrests, imprisoned, justice in case of disappearances and extra judicial killing. Protecting people and the planet is very dangerous work in Thailand and many countries of the South.
In WHRDs collective of Thailand, we are at the beginning seeing how our situation relates to those of others and what is mean for our life as collective.
We are now trying to understand collectively the value and demand payment for the work that is absolutely central to life and our autonomy. Women’s struggle waged caring labour is fundamental to women’s economic autonomy.
Our care work been too long of INVISIBLE so there is a senses of not knowing that we can demands for it, women in the south has been cheated and stealing of their money both politically , economically and in community so women didn’t have it, women didn’t have the power of it, and women needed it.
There are policies in Thailand that show some recognition of caring work such as newborn child support subsidy. The State provides a benefit to mothers who qualify for the first 6 years of the child’s life. To qualify one must be living below the poverty line (2667 baht per month/ USD90) . The policy also does not compensate for the entirety of the care work done by the mother or other caregivers in the family. We are working with WE fare the national network who advocates for state welfare to make WOMENFARE that representing demands of mothers and other carers.
The grants for the poor are managed as charity from the State not as a universal human right or part of the government’s responsibility for Welfare.
We recently submitted our Proposal to the Extraordinary Committee of parliament considering amendment of the Constitution. We demand The Constitution, the highest law, needs to recognize that care work in the home is socially vital and economically valuable. It must be paid accordingly. The government must provide wages in the form of money or access to land to all primary carers, without discrimination of gender, age or other factors.
We are trying to convincing the policy maker and society that The response to emergencies bought about by tsunami, climate change or disease like the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to be managed more efficiently and effectively if all those doing the work of protecting and caring for the family have a secure income and the resources in their hands to manage.
Care Income would give security and recognition of the value of the work that sustains all life in this planet.
Nina Lopez, Care Income webinar 3 April 2020 (closing comment)
We just wanted to add here, I just wanted to underline what Stefania has said, which is very much our point of view, which is how we’ve come together on this issue. Which is that the Care Income is short on technical details. And that is exactly how we want it because it’s, it hasn’t been put forward by technocrats, which is very unusual for any kind of proposals called the Green New Deal of any kind, (and coming from academia). And, what they’re trying to do when they put it forward, which we very much got involved precisely to do, is because it’s a movement building proposal. And together we can work out what the different countries want, what the different communities want, what they think they could win at a particular moment, how to make the case, how to incorporate it into whatever campaigns and movements are already going on. I think that’s really important — that we don’t get caught in trying to figure out every little detail on what does this mean, and what does that mean. We’re just moving away from that. It’s really a new way of looking at things, which is really the way that women who do the caring work, in a way, have always looked at it, except that we’re saying the whole economy should be looking at it that way, you know? All the policies should be looking at it in that way. And the climate crisis, in a way has given us this opportunity, precisely because what is the point of being a billionaire, if everything is getting flooded, and you can’t grow food anywhere? I mean, let’s face it, you know, the crisis is really at that breaking point. So we have to address it, and a care income gives us a way to address it, wherever you are, as well as many other demands, of course, that people have. So Stefania we very much appreciate the way that you look at it, and Giacamo making the point that we’re moving away from productive, non-productive definitions, as in GDP and all that, which have always left us out and left out what’s really important, which is our survival and our well being. So if people want to stay in touch, please, we, you know, we want to build a movement with that, so leave your emails and all that. But I just wanted to make clear that that’s what we want to do with it.
For more information contact: Global Women’s Strike (India, Ireland, Peru, Thailand, UK, US)
+44 20 7482 2496 or +1 215 848 1120
The Global Women’s Strike and Women of Colour GWS, which have campaigned for financial recognition for unwaged caring work for decades, have joined with the Green New Deal for Europe to urge governments everywhere to provide a Care Income, starting now. This would prioritize and support the work of all those, of every gender, who care for people, for the urban and rural environment, and for the natural world. (This Care Income is quite different from the universal basic income which prioritizes neither caring work nor the climate emergency.)
So far organizations and individuals from 33 countries, South and North – women’s, human rights defenders, environmentalists, domestic workers, subsistence farmers, disabled people, breastfeeding advocates, anti-rape, anti-deportation, sex workers… have endorsed the Open Letter to Governments.
The drastic measures in response to Covid-19 show that governments can take swift action and find money to deal with “emergencies” – if they want to. But, while they propose to replace some lost wages, there is no relief package for caregivers, only more work.
Everyone can now see how dependent we all are on caring work – in the home, the hospital, the community. Yet this invaluable work, typically performed by women, is mostly unwaged. When waged, it is usually the lowest paid, reflecting the low status governments and corporations place on those who do it, and on the lives and needs of most of those we care for.
Almost 70% of healthcare workers around the world are women. They and other “key workers” risk their own lives to keep people alive in hospitals and care homes, and to see that everyone has access to food and other essentials, in rural and urban areas. For example, of three million people in “high exposure” jobs in the UK– 77% are women and one third (98% women) earn “poverty wages”. A large percentage are on temporary or zero-hours contracts, and are disproportionately people of colour and/or immigrant, often denied services and resources available to others.
But why did it take Covid-19 to get governments to act when we already face a climate emergency as well as growing poverty and inequality, rape and domestic violence, war and displacement on an epidemic scale? If this pandemic teaches anything it is that we cannot go back to economic and social priorities that destroy people and the planet we depend on. The lockdowns are reducing air pollution (which kills an estimated seven million people annually worldwide) and making way for the natural world. We must build on that, not return to the mindless growth that pays us to do work that pollutes and threatens our very survival.
We urge you to report and
circulate this vital demand.
 Women’s Budget Group on figures supplied by Autonomy.
PUBLISHED: 18:15 07 April 2020 Sam Volpe
Shoda Rackal and Kay Chapman ahead of the Crossroads Women’s Centre’s International Women’s Day celebration. Picture: Crossroads Women’s Centre
The Kentish Town-based Global Women’s Strike (GWS) group have written an open letter to the UK government – and others around the world – calling for a “care income” to be instituted to protect the, often predominantly female, care workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In collaboration with the Green New Deal for Europe group, GWS have called for “the indispensable work of life and survival” to be recognised.
Kay Chapman and SHoda Rackal from GWS, which runs out of the Crossroads Womens’ Centre, said: “As mothers, we know that every day and in every emergency women are called on to protect and care for everyone.
“With this pandemic all can see how dependent the whole population is on caring work – at home, in care homes, in the NHS. Despite billions promised to keep the economy functioning, there is no relief package for mothers and other carers, only more work.”
See the full open letter here.
Please join us for a webinar
exploring the implications of a campaign for a Care Income, North and South,to stop climate change, promote caring work for people and planet, and
refuse work that is destructive to the environment and to the worker.
Chaired by Margaret Prescod, Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike
Selma James, GWS, London
Stefania Barca & Giacomo D’Alisa, Green New Deal for Europe, Italy/Portugal
Sam Weinstein, trade unionist, Payday men’s network, UK/US
Solveig Francis,breastfeeding advocate, London
Pranom Somwong, Protection International, Thailand
Followed by questions and discussion: what payments and support the State has been forced to give in response to the COVID-19 crisis in different countries, and how the demand for a Care Income has entered campaigning to change the world and save it.
This webinar follows on from the Women in Dialogue March 20 webinar From Coronavirus and Beyond: Valuing Caregiving — The Unwaged Work that Protects People and the Environment where 200 people from 14 countries participated. Global Women’s Strikeand Women of Color/GWS
We write to ask that your organization endorse the Open letter to governments – A Care Income Now! If you are not a member of an organization or are unable to confirm your organization’s endorsement, of course personal endorsements are also welcome. The Open Letter is jointly issued by the Global Women’s Strike, Women of Colour GWS and the Green New Deal for Europe (GNDE).
The call for a Care Income (#CareIncomeNow), which is a key part of the GNDE, was given a boost at a March 20 webinar From Coronavirus and Beyond: Valuing Caregiving — The Unwaged Work that Protects People and the Environment in which over 200 people from 14 countries participated. The webinar was originally scheduled as a workshop for the UN Commission on the Status of Women commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Women’s Conference, but this was canceled because of the virus.
The next online webinar will be on the Care Income Now! global campaign and is scheduled for Friday April 3 at 8am PDT (Pacific Daylight Time), 4pm (UK time), 10pm (Thailand time). It will include discussion on the implications of a Care Income for the environment, unwaged and waged work, and how we can use it in our campaigning to change the world and save it. Register here. The Open Letter is being translated into a number of languages which will shortly be available on our website.