给政府的公开信 — 即刻给看护人员工资!(a Care Income Now!)

       每天每刻,城市乡村,每个紧急事件,低收入或者完全没有收入的看护人员,大多数女性,尤其外来移民女性,在艰难的保护照顾着各个年纪,各种需要的人群。但是他们的无私工作通常是在人们视线之外,政府也从未给看护人员任何“救济包(relief package)”,反而只有更多的工作,尤其伴随着此次新冠肺炎的抗疫,他们的工作更加繁重。

       早在1980年,国家劳工组织(International Labour Organisation)就预计女性承担着世界三分之二的工作,却只获得百分之五的收入。而今天,女性,包括女孩,仍然承担着四分之三以上的所有无偿看护工作 — 总计每天达到125亿小时。

       气候变暖、贫困、战争、强奸、家庭暴力,再加上目前的新冠肺炎疫情都尤其伤害单身母亲家庭、体弱的人、残疾人群,以及老人。这些都暴露出我们在预防以及战胜这些问题时所面临的身体素质问题以及经济压力。尤其南半球国家,北半球国家的外来移民群体,以及世界各地的难民所面临的贫困、不平等待遇、环境破坏、战争、非对称工作类型,匮乏的医疗体系、收入,都在大大伤害人们的身体免疫系统。

       为应对新冠肺炎,世界上一个接一个的国家采取封城措施。公司,学校,交通等多个领域都在讨论如何补偿人们因此而丢失的工作和收入。这些领域的救助措施足以证明政府是完全可以,也有能力迅速采取措施来应对“紧急事件”的,只要政府愿意。在这种关键时刻,我们也必须团结一致争取我们所需要的。但我们担心政府会借着这个紧急时期所赋予的权利将财富从纳税人手中转移到大公司中,并对我们普通百姓在此次疫情过后的生活采取更多的管控,监视和限制。

       市场估算所有无偿工作价值10.8万亿美元,但从未建议支付给女性她们所应得到的,相反却让女性自己寻求教育或者找份工资更高的工作。我们当然有权利寻求这些,但是这并不能反映我们所做的在维持生命生活中不可或缺的工作,包括从母乳喂养开始到照看老人。只有赋予女性更高的地位,更多的权利和收入才能做到。

      上世纪80年代,国际家务劳动工资运动(International Wages for Housework Campaign)所倡导的“女性算数— 支付女性工作(Women Count — Count Women’s Work)” 的请愿替众多幕后默默无闻的女性提供了一次发声的机会。1200多家机构,代表世界多个国家几百万的女性签署了这个请愿书,使得联合国在1995年决定政府应当计量无偿工作并将其纳入国家的经济指标计算中。

      “欧洲绿色新协议 (Green New Deal for Europe )”对此目标起到进一步推动作用,因为它将考虑哪些工作类型是对人类社会环境起到积极推动作用的,并提倡给看护人员收入作为争取气候正义的关键一部分。终于,保护生命以及地球的工作可以于比“市场”受到更多重视 — 这将是保护地球,让世界变得更好的重要一步。全世界每一个角落都需要的一步。

       因此,我们要求给世界每个角落的看护人员工资,提升他们的收入。无论他们的性别,无论他们看护的是生命,环境或是自然。

全球女性罢工(Global Women’s Strike, GWS),及其下属的不同肤色女性组织(Women of Colour, GWS). 联系方式:gws@globalwomenstrike.net

Green New Deal for Europe

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfdsUb0Zh0zS05iFXedO9SMche5h7vISFvo_76KhK23KBDLmg/viewform

Carta Abierta A Los Gobiernos: ¡Un Ingreso De Cuidado Ya!

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

El Green 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 todas partes.

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 Color GWS  

Huelga Mundial de Mujeres (HMM) y Mujeres de Color en la HMM

Nuevo Acuerdo Verde para Europa gws@globalwomenstrike.net

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf0jj-ce-kNUsvehynDaTcD46A6AGlVsdPS0SA6aDwxnSTvNA/viewform

Open letter to governments – a Care Income Now!

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.

Global Women’s Strike (GWS) and Women of Colour GWS gws@globalwomenstrike.net
Green New Deal for Europe

ENDORSE HERE.

There is more than one pandemic. In response to the health, climate, poverty and war crises, we call for a Care Income Now!

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 more work.

In 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 today women and girls do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work with a total of 12.5bn hours a day.

The market values this at $10.8tn but never suggests that women should get any of it.

Instead 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.

In 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.

What 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.

Event: Webinar From Coronavirus and Beyond Valuing Caregiving — the Unwaged Work that Protects People and the Environment.


Date And Time

Fri, March 20, 2020

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EDT

Description

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

With

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.

For more information womenindialogue@crossroadswomen.net 215-848-1120
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-valuing-caregiving-the-unwaged-work-that-protects-people-and-the-environment-tickets-100185379166

The Independent: I founded the Wages for Housework campaign in 1972 – and women are still working for free

Forget basic income, those who care for people and the planet deserve to be recognised for the unpaid work they already do

‘Nothing can justify the subordination of one group of producers – the mothers – to the rest’
‘Nothing can justify the subordination of one group of producers – the mothers – to the rest’ ( Getty )

In 1972, a paper I wrote was discussed at the women’s liberation conference in Manchester. It had six demands: the right to work less; the right to have or not to have children (rather than just abortion); equal pay for all; free community-controlled nurseries and childcare (rather than 24/7 state childcare); an end to price rises; and the right to a guaranteed income, for women and men, and to wages for housework. It named my future.

I had the example of single mothers on benefits. They had a lower standard of living than women with male partners but they were freer because the money they had was their own. They were the backbone of the women’s movement but not a dominant voice.

The dominant voice at the conference (which was white and largely middle class) was that wages for housework would institutionalise women in the home and that going out to work was the beginning of liberation – no reference to wages or working conditions. As a young mother, I had waitressed, packed sweets, and wired and soldered TVs on an assembly line. Liberation didn’t look like that!

Wages for housework’s first campaign was to keep family allowance (as child benefit was called) in women’s hands; the government intended to transfer it to men’s pay packets. Signing petitions in front of post offices, women were adamant that “this is the only money I can call my own”. The government retreated and mothers kept their family allowance, their little bit of wages for housework.

But where had this money come from? Eleanor Rathbone, independently wealthy suffragette and MP, had fought for decades to win it. “Nothing can justify the subordination of one group of producers – the mothers – to the rest, and their deprivation of all share of their own in the wealth of a community which depends on them for its very existence.”

Maude Royden, who supported Rathbone, was outraged that giving birth to and raising children was trivialised: “Our object will not be to enable mothers to earn their living, but to ensure that since they have earned it they should get it. The one really fundamental difference between men and women is a difference, it is certainly not an inferiority. For women to try to reduce it to a trifle when it is really so great a thing is an acceptance of masculine standards too dishonouring and too artificial to endure.”

It is extraordinary that those who reproduce the human race are still unsupported and impoverished for this fundamental biological and societal work. Unwaged, in a world dominated by money.

As a result, like it or not, to escape dependence and poverty, women went out to the double day. Mostly not careers, and with austerity, they were even forced to subsidise low wages at food banks.

But women everywhere have fought for money for reproductive work, from maternity leave to paid time off to care for sick relatives.

Selma James refuses entry for male members of the press to the launch in 1975 of the Wages For Housework campaign at Conway Hall, Holborn (Getty)

In the US, a mass movement led by black single mothers (never acknowledged as part of the “women’s movement”) fought for welfare. Spokeswoman Johnnie Tillmon wrote in 1972: “If I were president, I would … go a long way toward liberating every woman. I’d just issue a proclamation that ‘women’s’ work is real work. I’d start paying women a living wage for doing the work we are already doing – childraising and house-keeping.”

We took our campaign to the United Nations, publicising the ILO figure that “women do two-thirds of the world’s work for 5 per cent of its income”. Over 1,500 organisations representing millions of women worldwide signed our petition Women Count – Count Women’s Work. In 1995 we won the UN commitment to measure and value unwaged work in national accounts. (The Commission on the Status of Women was to review implementation this month but was postponed due to the health emergency.)

In January, an Oxfam report said that women and girls do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work, contributing an estimated £8.28 trillion to the global economy with a total of 12.5 billion hours a day.

Like other reports, it urges us to get an education and thus a better-paid job rather than urging governments to pay us for this mountain of work. Women did not form a movement to eliminate caring but the dependence, isolation, servitude, invisibility and almost universal discrimination that society imposes on the unwaged carer.

The climate emergency clarifies much. The Green New Deal for Europe, of which we are part, proposes a care income for all who do caring work for people and planet – a welcome update on wages for housework.

This is light years ahead of a basic income (which hides the unwaged work women are already doing, leaves the market in charge, and may be used to abolish benefits); and it is more respectful of mutually caring relationships than parking children, the disabled and elderly people with “professionals” in order to “liberate” us, as some women economists urge.

A care income has been embraced by our network, from farmers, human rights defenders and sex workers in Southeast Asia to domestic workers in Peru. At last, protecting people and protecting Mother Earth are equated and prioritised over the uncaring market – a major step in transforming the world and saving it.

Selma James is founder of the Wages for Housework campaign which coordinates the Global Women’s Strike, based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre. WS and other organisations based at Crossroads will celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday with an Open Day from 12-6pm, 25 Wolsey Mews, NW5 2DX  More info here

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/international-womens-day-wages-housework-care-selma-james-a9385351.html

Camden New Journal: Let’s value the work of human survival

Marking International Women’s Day on Sunday, Selma James argues the long-overdue case for a Care Income

06 March, 2020 — By Selma James

IT’S almost 50 years since I marched, with thousands of others, behind the women’s liberation banner. Groups formed all over London and the UK, discussing what in our lives we wanted to change. Everything! Most wanted to destroy all the hierarchies in society. In fact, we considered for the first time how many hierarchies there were – not only of gender, but of class, race, nationality, age, disability, sexuality… Everything was up for grabs.

By 1972 a few of us had concluded that women’s unwaged caring work was central to the low status of women in every sphere. While we produced and cared for all the workers in the world, and therefore gave birth to the economy, our unwaged caring work kept us poor and dependent on men. We were often asked by husbands then, “What did you do all day?” as we put dinner on the table while tending a crying baby. We worked very hard at what nobody considered work.

In 1972 I called women together for what became the International Wages for Housework Campaign; in 1975 we opened our first women’s centre in Camden – a little squat which ultimately became today’s Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town.

In 1980 we went to the United Nations Women’s Decade conference in Copenhagen. We learnt that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had compared the work that women and men did, and concluded that “Women do two-thirds of the world’s work for 5 per cent of its income”.

We said “Women Count – Count Women’s Work” and publicised the ILO figures wherever we could. This was a figure of entitlement.

The women from the Global South agreed absolutely. They worked far harder than we did in London, often growing the food they and their families ate. They knew imperialism had plundered their countries so they didn’t have the technology we did – they had to walk to rivers to bring water home or get their girl children to do it.

In 1985 in Nairobi, we won the UN decision that governments should include the value of “unremunerated work in the home, on the land and in the community” in their financial accounts. They did begin to count the work but did not begin to pay us for it.

Quite the opposite. In the UK we lost Income Support which many single mothers had relied on to be financially independent. Those of us who are disabled saw our financial stability slashed under austerity cuts – 86 per cent of which fell on women.

Successive govern­ments insisted we go out to work even for the lowest pay – one reason why more than four million UK children, including 35 per cent of Camden’s children, live in poverty, and be assured their mothers are missing meals to feed them. There are more children in care than for decades, and low-income single mothers are more likely to have their children taken by social services than to get the help they are entitled to by law.

Yet there are now 220 women MPs and nearly 30 per cent of FTSE100 board positions are held by women. But what’s in it for us?

The hierarchies remain, shifting and not always for the better as the rich are richer and the poor poorer, and wars are raging with weapons poor people pay for.

We’ve been fighting to protect our children from the polluted air which makes them ill and sometimes kills them. Now none can avoid facing the climate emergency. That’s why we are part of the Green New Deal for Europe to demand a Care Income for the work of human survival we were never paid for, and the work of halting and undoing the destruction of Mother Earth, South and North, so we can all survive. All genders, all carers, all survivors.

• The Global Women’s Strike and other organi­sations at Crossroads Women’s Centre will be celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday March 8, with an Open Day from 12-6pm, 25 Wolsey Mews, NW5 2DX. All welcome. www.facebook.com/GlobalWomensStrike
• Selma James is founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and the author of The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community; and Sex, Race and Class – The Perspective of Winning

http://camdennewjournal.com/article/lets-value-the-work-of-human-survival

Grazia: The Problem Of Invisible Labour – And Why YOU Should Down Tools This International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day on 8 March, Grazia commissioned an exclusive survey that revealed women are still doing more at home. Writer Sally Howard, whose new book is about all the work women do to keep a household running smoothly, isn’t surprised…

Invisible Labour

BY SALLY HOWARD | POSTED5 HOURS AGO

On 8 March 2018, a year into my infant son’s life, I decided to go on domestic strike. My direct action was prompted by the shock quadrupling of domestic labour that had arrived, like an unwelcome gift, with my pink-faced newborn: the stacks of milk- sticky laundry; the endless carousel of kitchen and bathroom cleaning ; the tedious mashing and puréeing of baby food.

While my partner Tim and I had prided ourselves on our egalitarianism as childless cohabitees, I was alarmed to find that the lioness’s share of this parenting work had fallen on my aching shoulders.

And I’m not alone in this: studies have found that the arrival of a baby increases the domestic load by around three hours a day, with only 40 minutes of this parent-labour penalty falling to men. Indeed, according to Grazia’s survey, 71% of women said they’d taken more time off work for childcare reasons, the same number said they had organised their child’s last birthday party – and a huge 87% buy most of their children’s clothes.

Worse was the ‘invisible labour’ that accompanied these myriad manual tasks. It was me who was expected to know whether my baby was up-to-date with his inoculations and developmental milestones; it was ‘Mum’ the nosy health visitors addressed their questions to (women lose our given names as soon as we pop out a fresh human being); and me who had to be across such tasks as sending thank-you cards for unwanted babygros and buying biscuits for in-laws’ visits. Child covered in spew and kitchen in disarray? The blame, and judgement, fell at my swollen feet. However many nappies Tim changed, or milk stains he sponged, I was the one – in society’s eyes and in Tim’s – with whom the domestic buck stopped.

Domestic labour has always been a tricky injustice to protest against. It takes place in the privacy of the home, making it difficult for women to see each other doing this work and to collectively acknowledge that men do not share equally in its burden. And there can be dire consequences if we withdraw this labour: children uncared for and vulnerable relatives unfed. Our new cultural awareness of categories of invisible labour, from the mental load of household management to the feminine work of soothing, smiling and chivvying that’s been dubbed ‘emotional labour’, has done little to remedy women’s domestic plight. British women today contribute 20 hours of weekly domestic effort to British men’s 12, a 60% domestic labour gap that hasn’t budged since the 1990s.

In the months leading up to my first strike, I totted up my worth in today’s job categories. My calculation came to a cool £176,667 a year.

So why strike? For all their complexities, housework strikes have a long feminist history. On 24 October 1975, 90% of Iceland’s adult female population left their jobs, their children and their homes and took to the streets for a general strike that was billed as ‘Women’s Day Off’.

Their demands? Equal wages for equal work and a recognition of the 50 hours of unpaid labour that women undertook every week in Icelandic homes. For Icelandic men, the day became known as ‘the Long Friday’. With no women to staff desks and tills, banks, factories and shops were forced to close, as were schools and nurseries – leaving fathers with no choice but to take their children to work. (There were news reports of men bulk-buying colouring crayons and quick-cook sausages.)

Forty-five years after Women’s Day Off, its legacy lives on, with Iceland ranked top in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, an index that examines educational opportunities, life expectancy, pay equity and the average time spent each day on housework.

In the same era, feminists abandoned their domestic duties to march on New York and Washington DC, bearing placards that called out the injustices of what was then dubbed ‘women’s work’: ‘Housewives are unpaid slave labourers!’ ‘Tell him what to do with the broom!’ and, brilliantly, ‘Don’t iron while the strike is hot!’.

American feminist activist group Wages for Housework tried to quantify the financial value of women’s unpaid labour to the economy, figuring that the 1970s housewife’s combined skills of cook/ dietician, domestic cleaner, hostess, book-keeper, party organiser and chauffeur – among other diverse skills – would come to $60,000 a year (£100,000 in today’s money).

In the months leading up to my first strike, I totted up my worth in today’s job categories. My back-of-a-rusk-packet calculation came to a cool £176,667 a year, for cleaning (£19,946), private cheffing (£50,000), advanced PA £35,000), nannying (£34,721) and life-coaching services (£37,000).

So how did my first strike go? The first stumbling block was the date. With Tim at work on International Women’s Day (8 March) and my son not booked into nursery, I was in charge of a small kid with no childcare to hand. Striking on IWD would constitute child neglect and, as I scrambled around for untested babysitters, would supplant my day’s labour with a mental load of administrative chores.

Cleaning

CLEANING ©GETTY

I decided instead on a 9 March private direct action – a home strike! – which extended, in the end, from 8am to 5pm (time of the nursery pick-up), then from 7.15pm onwards. I didn’t tell Tim why our flat had descended into chaos until the following evening, when he confided he’d been quite pleased
to cook his own pasta and eat at a Continental hour, but had wondered why Leo had gone to bed in a sleeping bag that smelled ‘more than faintly of piss’. But, after the shock of the strike sunk in, the message landed: I wanted Tim to acknowledge the work that, to many men, registers as non-work
– present buying, managing domestic calendars and, among many other tasks, auditioning and arranging childcare.

Women are once more seeing the potential in withdrawing their labour en masse. International Women’s Strike, also known as Paro Internacional de Mujeres, is a global movement that staged its first action on IWD 2018 (when I was busy collecting strewn raisins off the floor of a Lewisham soft-play), with a series of strikes across Spain and South America. In Madrid and Barcelona, male feminists staffed communal nurseries as women marched for recognition of the 26.5 hours of weekly domestic labour Spanish women contribute compared to Spanish men’s 14, and the symbol of the strike, cooking aprons, fluttered from apartment balconies.

What would Britain look like if women downed tools for a day? We might soon find out. On 8 March 2020, tens of thousands of women will gather in London’s Cavendish Square for International Women’s Strike 2020. Dressed in red, #westrike will take place alongside women who are affected by the devaluation of women’s work in the public sphere: care workers, cleaners of hotels and private homes and NHS nurses. Our march is against structural sexism and racism and the lazy assumption that women will always
be there to wipe, mop, blow noses and pick up the pieces after men’s actions.

Will you, too, down domestic tools and learn to say a resounding ‘no!’ to the work that’s ascribed to women on the basis of nothing but the shape of our genitals? If a day’s tricky, why not try what Selma James of Wages For Housework calls a ‘small resistance’? Head out for a solo walk, forget about the ironing or sweating over Sunday lunch; bang the pots and pans.

Whatever you do, step away from the squeegee, Grazia comradistas. Don’t iron while the strike’s hot!

Sally’s book, The Home Stretch – Why It’s Time To Come Clean About Who Does The Dishes (Atlantic Books), is out now.

READ MORE: Women Will Work For Four Years Longer Than Men

READ MORE: Are You At Risk From The Gender Health Gap?

https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/opinion/invisible-labour-sally-howard/

Morning Star: The crucial work that women do is often overlooked

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.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/crucial-work-women-do-often-overlooked

WinVisible win £10,500 for woman with disability

You are here: Home / Benefits and Poverty / Tribunal victory gives hope to ‘failure to attend’ benefit victims

A woman speaks in front of protesters

Tribunal victory gives hope to ‘failure to attend’ benefit victims

By John Pring on 27th February 2020Category: Benefits and PovertyListenListen with webReaderFocus

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.”

She added: “A man who had an epileptic seizure on the day of his interview and was hospitalised, recently also won at upper tribunal.

“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

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