Women Today: Readers Speak Out on Goals and Challenges of Women Today

A union would me accomplish my goal of not just making ends meet but building a better life for my family and the families I serve. I’m proud of the care and education I provide children. But I also want to keep learning and share my knowledge to support parents who are doing their best to raise their children while holding down jobs. While much attention is given to the high cost of child care, what is often forgotten is that early childhood educators find themselves earning poverty wages and are unable to support their own families, much less afford additional education and training that will enable us to better serve the children in our care.

When I was a university graduate looking for entry level positions, a recruiter at a Japanese gaming firm recommended me to apply through the disabled section of their careers website. While the website mentioned accessibility benefits, there was only one employment type: Contractor.

After a while, I was able to get an offer. However, the employment details were depressing: Salary was equivalent to high school graduates and 65% of peer new grad, on contract subject to annual renewal. Peer non-disabled new grads were accessible to full salary, benefits, and enjoy the status of permanent employment.

In the wake of my mother’s death, I have cobbled together several part-time jobs including adjuncting and paid work in public history, but with little security these jobs don’t count for much when you approach a bank for a loan to start a small business, which I’ve also recently done. Women who take time out to care for children face much the same. Not only is caring for the old and the young an unpaid and thankless job — it has punitive consequences. These jobs need to count — socially, culturally and economically — in the labor and financial sectors — as WORK, which is what they are. Vital and meaningful work, which produces the next generation of laborers and ensures that our sick, disabled and elderly are not thrown to the wolves. If we don’t do it, who will? And yet under capitalism, which commodifies just about everything else, we are expected to do this for free, and then excluded from opportunity when we do.

Recognition that things women generally advocate for are not for selfish reasons in the slightest. We want equal pay so we can support ourselves and our families in the same way our male counterparts do. We want decent healthcare so that when an emergency or illness hits us or our family, we can still focus on what needs to be done at work and at home to deal with it, and not wonder how we’re going to pay for it. We want affordable, quality childcare because in order to be successful at work, we need to be able to leave the most important things in our world at a place each day where we know they are loved, and nurtured and educated, and not at a price that makes it senseless for us to work in the first place.

 

October 12, 2017

Sources:` New York Times

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