There’s been a lot of talk recently about the shocking gender pay gap in Australia. We’re going backwards, ladies. We’re paid 18.2% less than men for work of equal value.
That’s bad enough for paid work. But what about the valuable work we parents do that we’re paid nothing for? I’m talking, of course, about birthing and raising children.
Equal pay, huh? Have you ever wondered whether maybe we’re trying to solve the wrong problem?
Back in the dark ages, before money was invented, people lived off the land. There was farm work and house work and birthing and child rearing, all slotted in wherever time permitted.
At some point we invented money and decided to pay people for doing jobs. Women were busy having kids so men went out to earn the money to buy the food for everyone in the family.
Women earned money too, where they could, but not much. Because kids.
This worked fine while there was a man who would go out to work and earn money. And not leave. Or die. Or become violent.
Then women found a way to have fewer kids, and have them later. They called it contraception.
So women figured they would go out and earn money too. Because money is what we use to buy food and shelter. And independence.
We got a little miffed that workplaces seemed to think it was okay to pay us less than men. So we started fighting for our right to equal pay for work of equal value.
But here’s the problem.
What they’re not telling you is that it’s only equal pay for work that’s actually counted as part of the economy.
Raising kids is not considered economically valuable in our society. Nobody wants to pay you for
sitting around the house all day raising the next generation.
We’ve forced child raising into the economy by formalising childcare. But still, doesn’t it strike you as odd that you can pay someone else to look after your child but if you look after your own child it’s not counted as part of the economy?
Here’s the thing – without kids we would have no society. We would have no economy because we would have no future workers.
So really, parents are doing one of the most valuable jobs of all in our economy. We’re birthing and raising the next generation of workers.
Why is our economy not set up to count child rearing and housework as work of equal value? Why do we have to prove ourselves as parents AND at some other job deemed economically useful at the same time?
Equal pay for work of equal value?
That will never happen until we find a way to include the work of raising children into our concept of value.
Linking with Essentially Jess for #IBOT.