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. This year’s EQUAL CARE DAY refers to women’s work in the year 2012.
Since 2008, the Equal Pay Day
has reminded Germany that, in average, women earn significantly less than men. On November, 3rd, 2015, federal minister Manuela Schleswig presented the motto for this year’s Equal Pay Day (occurring on March, 19th, 2016:) “What’s the value of my work?” This question is particularly important for caregivers.
The answer should no longer be determined by sexist, racist or classist structures! All too often, it seems to be forgotten that in wealthy families with two working parents, a lot of duties are simply outsourced, often to women who are immigrants.
Risk of poverty
That’s why we need societal and labor law-related conditions that don’t put care workers at risk of poverty anymore. Currently, professional work in this area is badly paid (#Pflegestreik), insurance is almost unaffordable (midwives, #hebammenprotest) any break in one’s work not only adversely impacts immediate incoming, but also degrades future career opportunities and pension claims, leading to financial dependency.
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.
By the way, the PayGap and the CareGap already exist in children’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’ (example from Frankfurt) and girls are expected to help with housework and look after younger siblings a lot more than boys (Vorwerk family study 2010).We pass on a mix of sexism, racism and classism to the next Generation in a very subtle way.
One of many examples: LegoFriends, the pink wrapped building blocks with five girlish mini-dolls. Andrea, the only non-white mini-doll, wants to be a superstar one day, Lego says in the magazine that comes with the package. In order to be able to do that, she needs to wait tables in the “City Park Café”, where she makes cupcakes and burgers but also “does the dishes and wipes the floor”. (source: faz “In dieser Idylle ist morgen wie gestern”).
In the blue and black wrapped series LegoCity however, the figures are nameless, there’s neither cake nor best friends and all of the “little men” are working.
It is our wish to draw attention to the connection between adult world and children’s rooms in the gender debate. What goes for the GenderCareGap and the GenderPayGap, applies to all other issues in the area of gender equality and gender stereotypes.
Although in Germany, the majority of people support gender equality, we still allow for our children to be put in two very small boxes – they’re decorated nicely in pink and blue but they’re padded with outdated gender stereotypes.
Mit Dank an Ash fürs Übersetzen