Equal Care Day, 29.2.

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

How do we draw attention to the lack of appreciation for care work?

The Problem: 

Do we really want people working with machines to be recognized and paid better than those working with people?

The Solution: 

End conveying narrow role models to children: leave the "Pink and Blue Trap" (#rosahellblaufalle)

Channels: 

We campaign to establish February, 29th as

EQUAL CARE DAY

in order to draw attention to the lack of appreciation for care work in general and caring for children, sick, old or disabled people in our society. Do we really want people working with machines to be recognized and paid better than those working with people?

To illustrate the unfair distribution of this work: 80% of care work is done by women, professionally and even more privately: 80%. That’s why the Equal Care Day will occur only every four years, as a reminder that, in Germany, men would take four years to equal the care work performed by women in a single year.

Care work isn’t a private matter.

It’s not an individual decision, but something that affects and calls for all of us. At best, we defer the problem by paying through outsourcing. The effects of this uneven distribution especially affect men, not only morally, because they give up most of their duties and responsibilities, but also personally. After retiring, a lot of men regret not having saved more time to spend with their children, their families This is especially significant given mens’ shorter life expectancy (5 years, on average) as compared to women – one of the reasons for that is that they’re less careful with their own bodies (unhealthy diet, belated reaction to/ignorance of symptoms, risky behavior, higher use of drugs, higher risk of suicide), maybe not individually, but statistically.

P.S. PayGap and CareGap already exists in childrens's rooms

The imbalance starts out from children’s rooms, not just because the adult world conveys narrow role models – but also because children themselves experience the CareGap as well as the PayGap: In average, boys’ allowances are higher than girls’ and girls are expected to help with housework and look after younger siblings a lot more than boys. We pass on a mix of sexism, racism and classism to the next Generation in a very subtle way.

Comments

Personal story?

Noemi's picture

Hi @careday-team, welcome. 

Did this happen already or is it an idea?

I can see the argument working in some communities more than as a general campaign - for example where this care gap is degenerative in that it correlates with lack of self confidence in women, or housework burnout, or even domestic violence in the worst cases..  

I haven't done awareness raising campaigns, but it could be that for the impact you're looking for a deep value based argument would be more easily turned around by anyone with a difft agenda.   

If you can insert links to the stats or numbers you're referencing it would be great!

Equal Care Day - First time was in 2016

careday-team's picture

It did already happen! For the first time in 2016, but only online and in german. Nevertheless we got great responses and media coverage, support by lots of people, who posted their positions on this subject and a supporting statement from the german Ministry for Family Affairs. So 'Equal Care Day, 29.2.' seems to be an established day in certain circles, but of course we'd like more people to know about it, to discuss it, to raise awareness to the lack of appreciation of care work - so now we're looking forward to 29.2.2020, and hope to find fellows who spread the idea to other countries and sponsors to organize a live event on this special day.

Care workers at risk of poverty

Noemi's picture

Thanks for sharing the links, from the ministry's communication I picked up on something new: "The question of women's employment is thus closely linked to the question of the social organization of care work" So the risk is that the more care work you do around the house, the more you risk being paid less because of inability to take up fulltime work and provide for yourself at an old age..?

On the other side, unpaid care work it's somehting many of us do in our lives - out of love, pleasure, even a sense of duty as Alex pointed out in his story of refugee volunteering. For a lot of people care - and I've seen older generation women in my family, care is indeed something they "can't switch off" from because it is where they find meaning in their lives. After retiring, they, and not their husbands were the ones who were able to take on paid care roles (eg caring for small children) as those skills remain valued at an old age. Indeed underpaid, and yet the only surplus income in the family. 

Do other policies like paternal leave work in Germany? In Romania it's currently at only 10% of fathers taking it :-( 

 

In Sweden it's picking up but still there is a difference

Nadia's picture

Not sure what the data is on what percentage of fathers take parental leave and how long. I'll as around if you want?

Care work is embedded in more formal work than you'd think

Noemi's picture

I think you would enjoy this @careday-team. I re-read it and thought of your angle, which allows for many explorations left and right: an article making a case that most of the work people do is on each other! so care work is just too unseen and mostly in underpriviledged jobs, genders to a minimum. Working classes as care classes, that's a strange idea that never occured to me:

Even in the days of Karl Marx or Charles Dickens, working-class neighbourhoods housed far more maids, bootblacks, dustmen, cooks, nurses, cabbies, schoolteachers, prostitutes and costermongers than employees in coal mines, textile mills or iron foundries. All the more so today. What we think of as archetypally women's work – looking after people, seeing to their wants and needs, explaining, reassuring, anticipating what the boss wants or is thinking, not to mention caring for, monitoring, and maintaining plants, animals, machines, and other objects – accounts for a far greater proportion of what working-class people do when they're working than hammering, carving, hoisting, or harvesting things.

This is true not only because most working-class people are women (since most people in general are women), but because we have a skewed view even of what men do. As striking tube workers recently had to explain to indignant commuters, "ticket takers" don't in fact spend most of their time taking tickets: they spend most of their time explaining things, fixing things, finding lost children, and taking care of the old, sick and confused.

Caring too much. That's the curse of the working classes.

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