WIDE+ has signed to this public statement asking for investment in the care economy for a just, green, feminist Covid-19 response and recovery that is now signed by almost 200 associations.
The statement calls for:
- Alternative development models that center people and planet, uphold human rights, food sovereignty and climate justice.
- A halt to the hollowing out of the state that has left much of the response to the double disaster of the pandemic and the lockdown to the mobilisation of community spirit and voluntarism led by womxn. We need to stop the exploitation of womxn’s unpaid and underpaid labour as a low cost social safety net.
- Drastically change the policies of the IMF. The IMF’s minimalist approach to debt relief, emergency financing and social protection for developing countries is nothing short of appalling.
- It is clear that GDP growth as a measure of any sort of progress is outdated and unfit for purpose in the 21st century. Also, privatisation of subsidised and free public goods and services has not reduced government deficits any more than it has “crowded in” private investment for services which by their nature cannot and should not generate profit. Governments must dismantle neoliberal economic systems and institutions.
- Governments must end the marginalisation and criminalisation of informal workers, and instead acknowledge, promote and value their critical roles in the economy.
- Governments must develop a system-wide approach to the care economy by investing in care infrastructure and institutions and ensuring decent work conditions for all workers across the care sectors–education, health, care, social and domestic work, social, public transport, housing, water and sanitation.
When Womxn Stop, the World Stops
The myth that technology will progressively replace the global labour force conveniently dismisses the physical, emotional, sexual, intellectual labour done by womxn for social reproduction in homes, communities, markets and the global economy. It neglects the unpaid family labour that rural womxn put into agricultural and subsistence production that keeps households from the brink of malnutrition and starvation. The myth that it is foreign capital that creates growth has been purposefully constructed to devalue the work of millions of womxn public sector workers. After decades of insisting on their disposability, only now have the high priests of capitalism had to admit that these workers deliver essential services without which markets would collapse: nurses, doctors, administrators, emergency and social workers, community outreach workers, teachers, cleaners, transport and sanitation workers. Decent work, living wages and universal social protection programmes do not hold back economic growth; rather they are the bedrock of socio-economic resilience. The fallacy that the informal economy – where womxn are concentrated – is marginal, has been exposed with the realisation that it is the means by which the majority of households in the Global South earn their livelihood.
Picture by Sascha Verheij at Unsplash.com