PRESS STATEMENT: In response to Covid-19 and the climate emergency: organizations around the world call for a Care Income Now!

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.[1] 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.[2]

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)[3] 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.


[1] https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311314/WHO-HIS-HWF-Gender-WP1-2019.1-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

[2] Women’s Budget Group on figures supplied by Autonomy.

[3] WHO: https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

Ham & High: Kentish Town women’s group call for ‘carer’s income’ amid coronavirus pandemic

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.

https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/health/global-women-s-strike-group-call-for-carer-s-income-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-1-6597946

Endorsers to the Open Letter to Governments – A Care Income Now!

Organizational endorsers:

#MeToo Survivors, US

Alexandria House, US

All African Women’s Group, UK

Alliance for Global Justice, US

ALTSEAN-Burma

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Thailand

Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Malaysia

Auckland Feminist Action, NZ

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, UK

BirthStrike, UK

Black Women’s Rape Action Project, UK

Borstvoeding vzw, Belgium

Community WHRD Collective, 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 CIC, UK

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

Globallyaware, Australia

Hampshire County Federation of Women’s Institutes, UK

Help & Shelter, Guyana

Howie Hawkins for Pres (Green Party), US

Int’l Black Women for Wages for Housework, UK/US

International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, Belgium

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, UK/US

International Women’s Strike/LA, US

Justice for Peace Foundation, Thailand

Lactation Consultants of Great Britain

Legal Action for Women, UK

Leicester MAMMAs, UK

Lewisham Housing Forum, UK

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, UK

National Welfare Rights Union, US

Old Women’s Project, US

Parents for Inclusion Newham, UK

Payday men’s network, UK/US

Planning for Sustainable Communities, US

PM Press, US

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility, UK

Public Carers, UK

Queer Strike, UK/US

Reclaim the Power, UK

Red Thread, Guyana

Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research (RAPAR), UK

Release, UK

Research & Degrowth Barcelona, Spain

Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital, UK

Scottish Kinship Care Alliance, Scotland

Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM), UK

Sex Worker’s Opera, UK

She’s Got the Power, Russia

Sibling Arts CIC, UK

Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, UK

Sisters Health & Wellness Collective

Somood women, Palestine

Success Capital Organisation, Botswana

Support Not Separation, UK

Sussex Refugee and Migrants Self-Support Group, UK

US PROStitutes Collective, US

WAYVE Foundation, India

We All Rise, US

Welfare Warriors, US

WinVisible – women with visible and invisible disabilities, UK/US

Women Against Rape, UK

Women’s League of Burma, Myanmar

World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative Steering Group, UK

Programme for today’s Care Income Now! webinar

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.

Friday April 3, 11am-1pm US Eastern (4pm UK, 10pm Thailand)
Pre-registration necessary Register here
Be an early signer of Open Letter to Governments – Care Income Now!

Chaired by Margaret Prescod, Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike (GWS)
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
 
careincomenow@globalwomenstrike.net

CARE INCOME NOW! Sign the letter & join webinar

Dear Friends,

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.

Open letter to governments – a Care Income Now!

Bahasa, Burmese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Romanian, Spanish, Thai, Urdu so far.

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 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  careincomenow@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.