International Women’s Day – Urgent Progress needed around CARE Matters

Posted in: MAHM Blog

On behalf of the wider membership and Mothers at Home Matter supporters, we are delighted that Global Women’s Strikewill be in Parliament today campaigning about the importance of CARE.  We are sorry that our MAHM mothers cannot be there,  mainly due to care responsibilities at home.

_h2x981221Your event on International Women’s Day is an essential reminder of the vital importance of caregiving to the human condition.

Having time to care is absolutely indispensable   throughout the family life cycle for people of all ages and in a spirit of inter-generational solidarity.

It’s important that different groups and campaigners work together to highlight the current  Crisis in Care in the UK and torally people to action.

Change is long overdue and the current system isn’t working!

We know this because we have an epidemic of mental health issues amongst children and also adults.    There’s rising poverty, including food poverty and homelessness and the gap between the well off and the least well off is widening.

It’s abundantly clear that  we need different solutions to the way resources are divided out and the way we work and care for each other.    Our children’s futures depend on it.

A key point is to challenge the way we measure ‘equality’.   If we value care properly and treat it as the essential work ilona-eiduke8it is,   then it makes no sense that more caregiving time should have to mean less equality!

We believe that Caregiving Work is already Equal Work.   The challenge is to reward that work equally, instead of penalising it which  is contrary to what it means to be a progressive society and which discriminates against carers at a time when discrimination against any group in society is not normally tolerated.   A modern society cares for all its citizens and particularly those of us who depend on care, as we all will one day.

We really can’t do without people caring for us when we are young, sick, when the unexpected happens and when we are elderly.    If we can no longer depend on people having sufficient time and resources to provide care, then who do we turn to when everyone is out in paid work,  working longer hours and when our closest relatives have to commute long distances away from home?  What happens then?

The social care system and our health services find it hard to keep up with demand already,  so we really can’t afford for the situation to get any worse by continuing to neglect  caregivers who are often  forced to move into different kinds of paid work. Already this has led to a crisis of loneliness amongst elderly people,  and the signs are that it’s set to get a whole lot worse.

Mothers at Home Matter is delighted to work alongside Global Women’s Strike to highlight the issues.  MAHM exists because most of us – especially women – will find ourselves caring for others at some point in our lives, especially when we care for children.

The organisation exists because we believe that the vast majority of ordinary people would like to see the work of mothering being better valued for the essential  work it is.  This includes the ante-natal period, through birth and when nurturing infants and older children or teenagers.

We believe that children and young people deserve to be taken care of by the people who love them and who want to invest in their wellbeing and make sure they’re happy, thriving, healthy, feel safe and secure and with a sense of belonging.   The same applies to the way we care for our elderly folk.

To be clear MAHM doesn’t exist because we believe mothers are only important when at home caring for family,  rather it’s so that ALL MOTHERS , when at home  (however long or short that time period), are properly and fairly treated during that important time.

We also believe  it matters for families to have choices in care,  so that we can better choose what works for us in our unique circumstances. When we need to devote time to caregiving,  we also hope to access support from the wider community and through sensible policymaking,  to make sure women are well protected,  instead of impoverished or made to feel invisible.   The same applies to male caregivers and that goes without saying.   But the expectation of policymakers for more men to engage in care must not be an excuse for failure to support women as caregivers.

We’d like more cross-departmental discussion about care: we’d like a full debate on social protection for caregivers and fairer family taxation,  more affordable housing and rentsdecent pay,  fair pensions for people who’ve devoted time to caring for others.  We’d also like to see better employment policy too – and more opportunities to return to the workplace when people need to engage in more years of paid employment,  regardless of age and regardless of how many years spent contributing in other ways.   We also need better pay for part time work, which is often work carried out by women.

jen-carrFamily care is essential for individuals and extended family,  but also within the wider community, caring for neighbours and friends.

Ultimately it’s also important for the Economy.

So it’s puzzling that the Govt doesn’t show any signs of wanting to consult and engage with people who know and understand about CARE.   And when approached by CARE organisations we know that politicians are motivated mainly by short-term costs today rather than looking at longer-term economic and social gain.  They tell us that MAHM needs to somehow prove that more support for family care would lead to lower spending on mental health services, better outcomes for children,  higher productivity etc  We say ‘’Surely it’s common sense’’!

Sadly, there’s far too little ambition in policy circles to invest and build a better, more equal kind of society for ALL our children.

Few people would disagree that we now desperately need a more caring society and one where more people are able to prosper, feel hopeful about the future and feel more secure.  This means a country where we can rely on each other.

We hope that Global Women’s Strike’s event in the House of Commons today on International Women’s Day will lead to more honest debate and full consultation of the care challenges faced by young and old.

Mothers at Home Matter

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