Statement: White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, 28 Sept 2022
Statement from the Global Women’s Strike, Women of Color/GWS and Care Income Now!
To reach President Biden’s goal of ending hunger by 2030, the poverty of mothers, other primary caregivers and those caring for the land must be eliminated.
We call for an expanded fully-refundable Child Tax Credit paid monthly and directly to mothers/ primary caregivers; an expanded EITC to include caregivers and students; a guaranteed Care Income; support for regenerative natural farming; and pay equity.
Our statement is based on our lived experience. Those of us who are impoverished do caregiving work under conditions of extreme stress. We lack cash for basic survival needs; face food insecurity and homelessness; have no access to healthy food free of poisonous pesticides. In the areas where we live even infants are forced to take in contaminated air and water, and we have no access to affordable quality healthcare. Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination negatively impact our physical and emotional health. When we are pregnant, these stresses endanger our babies’ lives.
We need a guaranteed care income that recognizes the value of the work we are already doing caring for and protecting our families and communities. As mothers, caregivers, Indigenous people, farmers/farm workers, land and human rights defenders, we are essential to our communities and to society but taken for granted and ignored. The poorer we are the harder we have to work to keep ourselves and our families fed and healthy (starting with breastfeeding). This has a disproportionate impact on single mothers, Black and Brown communities. When we do this caregiving work as a job, it is low status and low-paid. Yet our unwaged caregiving work is valued at $1.5 trillion/year in the US.
Our call includes:
- Child Tax Credit to be reinstated, fully refundable, paid monthly to all regardless of immigration status and paid directly to mothers/primary caregivers with no impact on other benefits and with no work requirements – raising children is work! With the CTC, the child poverty rate fell by 46% — 79% of families used the CTC to buy food.
- Guaranteed Care Income for those of every gender caring for people and the planet — the key to ending hunger, improving health, enabling physical activity and combating climate change.https://globalwomenstrike.net/careincomenow.
- Earned Income Tax Credit extended to unwaged caregivers and students by redefining work to include unpaid caregiving and higher education; support the Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act; extend American Rescue Plan to lift the age cap for those without children to claim EITC and lower it to age 19; increase the amount for childless workers.
- Direct cash subsidies and other support for rural and urban farmers in regenerative agriculture which is vital to halting and reversing climate change, paid for by ending subsidies to poisonous agribusiness. 90% of farm subsidies are harmful to people and the planet and drive inequality by excluding smallholdings. Ban pesticides including glyphosate (Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021 – PACTPA).
- Paid time off for breastfeeding for at least six months as recommended by the CDC, and paid breastfeeding breaks for mothers at waged jobs as supported by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
- TANF, SNAP, WIC, Section 8 and other benefits protected, increased and extended to those who have been criminalized and regardless of immigration status; end work requirements, time limits and the “benefits cliff”.Subsidies for purchases of organic fresh produce and at farmers markets.
- Stop price gouging in inner city supermarkets and address food deserts in both urban and rural communities.
- Implement UN resolutions that governments measure and valued unwaged work in the home, on the land and in the community, and include its economic value in satellite accounts of the GDP(UN Decade for Women; UN Sustainable Development Goals). Implement the 1977 Nat’l Women’s Conference resolution, Work, Welfare and Poverty, calling for welfare to be called a wage, not charity, and opposing workfare – itwas never acted on.
- Expand Time use surveys being done by the Bureau of Labor Statisticsincluding simultaneous activities, and ensure the findings are considered in developing labor, social and economic policy.
- The crucial bond between mother and child must be protected, not cruelly trashed. End the use of cash assistance to the most impoverished mothers being diverted to child welfare agencies who remove children from their families because mothers/primary caregivers are poor and/or victims of domestic violence, and/or who were/are criminalized. Poverty is not neglect; it is imposed not chosen. Prioritize a guaranteed income for mothers vulnerable to the child welfare system and for children aging out of foster care or leaving incarceration. Children have a right to their mothers. Support the demands of Give Us Back Our Children, including CA SB 1085. See https://bit.ly/GUBOCDemands
- Support the Family Poverty is Not Child Neglect Act (HR 573). Include in the Senate version of CAPTA reauthorization bill the House version language (HR 485) that poverty is not a reason to deprive children of their families.
- Debt relief, subsidies, loans and foreclosure moratorium for Black and other minority farmers.
- Support for urban gardens and community-based farms with particular attention to impoverished communities.
- Green spaces, parks, gardens, trees in inner-city communities.
FACT SHEET ON VALUE OF CAREGIVING
- If the value of household production (time spent cooking, cleaning, watching the children, etc.) were included in the GDP, it would have added approximately $3.8 trillion to the US economy and raised the level of the nominal GDP nearly 26% in 2010. Bur of Econ Analysis
- Replacing a mother who dies would cost $184,820 a year (Legal and General Insurance Co). This is based on 183 total hours worked per week. $3,696,400 is the amount of money the average American household would need over 20 years to replace mom if she were no longer around.
- Women in the US spend at least 28.4 hours a week doing unpaid labor. If women were paid for this labor at the average hourly rate of $26.82, they would earn $40,000 a year. If they were compensated at just $10 an hour, they would earn $14,768 a year. https://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=54757
- “Care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies turning.” OXFAM values this unpaid care work of women and girls at $10.8 trillion annually worldwide, more than three times the size of the global tech industry.
- Women do 2/3 of the world’s work for 5% of the income. Women and children comprise 75% of the poor in the US & worldwide – women of color do the most work for the least. (ILO)
- Family caregivers provide 80% of care for ill/disabled people totaling $470 billion in unpaid services a year. More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care. (National Alliance for Caregiving, AARP)
“If I were President, I’d start paying women a living wage for doing the workJohnnie Tillmon, Natl Welfare Rights Organization; advocate for a Guaranteed Adequate Income
we are already doing – child-raising and housekeeping.”
Global Women’s Strike firstname.lastname@example.org
Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike email@example.com
Care Income Now! firstname.lastname@example.org