\”The revolution in gender roles is unfinished business,\” said Nick Pearce, director of IPPR. \”Women still shoulder the overwhelming burden of household tasks, particularly after they have had children. When they earn more, their bargaining power with their partners increases, so closing the gender pay gap would help. Universal childcare, rather than tax relief for nannies or cleaners, is also the best way forward for a family-friendly, more equal Britain.
The gender pay gap is entirely the result of the different choices about childcare etc that men and women take after marriage/parturition.
You cannot therefore change those decisions by changing the pay gap, it all works entirely the other way around.
And what is this thing about universal child care? We already have that….all children are cared for. What is meant is that there should be some state provision of child care to all children. Which is an interesting sort of thing for a lefty to argue for.
We\’ve got something that is normally done by parents for their own children and now we\’re going to force it out of the household economy and into the wider one. In Marxist terms this is the commodification of childcare: commodification normally being thought a bad thing.
But there\’s more to it than this as well. We have no magic box that says \”free childcare\”. All we have is the ability of young women to care for their own children or young women to care for other peoples\’ children (it really won\’t be young men: the paedophile scare will see to that). At which point we\’ll end up with a class issue. For it will be the high flying career women in the middle and upper classes who get to palm their kids off onto the working class birds who will be staffing the child care centres.
The end result will actually be not dissimilar to the Upstairs Downstairs world of nannies. The working class woman will be looking after the kids of the upper. About the only real difference is that the sex life of that working class girl will not be monitored quite so obsessively (nor, to be fair, at quite so much risk from hubby or footman).
It\’s entirely possible that this will be a better world even so. It\’s just a very odd thing for a lefty to be arguing for.