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Housework is work: the pending challenges to implement a national care system

Housework is work: the pending challenges to implement a national care system

Historically, the division of jobrelated to the responsibilities of caring for the family, has predominantly assigned women. Because Peru is a very conservative country, there is no fair care system; something that we can see in more developed countries internationally. In the case of Latin America, some of our neighbors have been working in this direction for decades; However, in our nation this remains a pending task.

On April 5, the Congressional Women and Family Commission filed the bill that proposed the recognition of the right to care and the creation of the National Care System. Among the main arguments against the initiative are the assumptions of ‘disuniting families’ and ‘outsourcing care’. La República contacted Liz Melendez, executive director of Flora Tristán, who spoke to us about how important it is to recognize care work as work.

Towards a society with a National Care System

—Why is it important to recognize care work as work and for it to be paid?

—This contributes to eliminating inequalities. These tasks or tasks have been minimized and made invisible and, generally, they have been entrusted to women, which is why their professional development has been limited.

There are barriers for women to escape poverty and, let’s say, it has become a completely naturalized social injustice. To that extent, if we want a more democratic, more egalitarian society, we must recognize that these tasks are fundamental: they contribute to the country’s economy and should not be classified as minor or low-recognition jobs.

It is necessary to give them the value they deserve and recognize it not only discursively, but also in public policies and in allowing the people they care for to have self-care and care in appropriate conditions.

Furthermore, it is intended that these are not mandatory tasks for women, but rather that they are jobs that can be distributed among the different members of a household.

—The bill that, precisely, promoted this recognition was recently archived.

—We have regretted it, we have drawn attention because, in reality, it was the first project, they were the first initiatives that existed regarding a National Care Systemand by this we refer to ecosystems and the possibility of there being state services to which citizens can turn.

There are almost no accessible services for care, which not only ends up forcing, apart from women with a certain purchasing power, to hire care at home, but also many women who work, for example, in the informal sector and have to go to the workplace with their children.

In this way, not only is the development of women limited, but children and dependent people such as older adults and people with disabilities are also exposed to being without an adequate care system.

A care system involves public policies for prevention and changing the imaginary that these tasks have to be done only by women because we are women. Co-responsibility must be raised in many homes. Several men are also involved in unpaid domestic work.

—One of the arguments of those who sought to shelve this bill was that, supposedly, they wanted to outsource care. They also mentioned that it could break up families. What do you think about this?

—We have a context of setbacks, a society with a Congress Completely conservative, with some exceptions. And not only is it conservative, it is anti-women’s rights and they try to block any initiative that could bring us closer to equality.

A family has to be built based on respect and the recognition that the other can develop fully. And we are not talking about people not taking care of their family members, rather, we are talking about taking care of them with appropriate conditions, that the careful does not represent a painful burden for a single person, which would also affect their mental health.

It is absurd to think about disunity. Families generally entrust the care tasks to a single person, generally a woman. This shows not thinking about this person’s life.

So, you can’t build united families if there is violence, right? I believe that these are arguments that come deeply from very patriarchal sectors and try to oppose all logic because the proposal to raise this issue is that all the people in the families are well, that the boys are well cared for, that the girls are well cared for. , than older adults and people with health problems as well.

—How do other countries manage the care system?

—The most developed societies in the world have policies of careful. In nations such as Canada, Switzerland, the United States, Belgium and Finland, if a person has a disability, a person is assigned to care for them. There are also suitable care centers.

If we look at these countries we will see how there is respect for life and dignity. This means that, when you become an older adult, you do not have to live a completely precarious life, with precarious care, with non-existent services.

In Peru, how many elderly people do we see who are completely abandoned? Many times, the first thing that comes to mind is the following: “Oh, how bad your family is.” We would have to think about where the State is to respond to the care of that citizen. What about people who don’t have family members?

—What prevents us as a society and as a country from passing a law like the one that was proposed and discarded?

I believe that what prevents us as a country from passing any law related to equality issues is a Congress completely obstructive of policies related to gender equality.

As a society, we have failed to overcome gender inequalities. I am not saying that in the countries I mentioned it has been achieved, but I believe that there is greater awareness of human dignity. And that’s really what we have to develop. It will not be the same path, Peru will have to see what its possibilities are; However, excuses cannot be given such as “it is very expensive” to have services that take care of life itself.

Here we are putting life at the center of concern because we are all going to need it. We could say that, perhaps, our country, compared to other more developed ones, is a country that has not developed a logic of rights, that has not allowed itself to advance in an awareness of rights.

As long as life is not put at the center, we are going to continue excluding those who have the least because, finally, the current situation we have tends towards the privatization, let’s also say, of the care. That is, in reality, this is resolved in the private sphere as possible: people invest their money and those who end up being the most excluded are the poorest.

  Liz Melendez.  director of Flora Tristán.  Photo:

Liz Melendez. director of Flora Tristán. Photo:

Source: Larepublica

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