This first para explains it all

Childcare workers are underpaid because we’re women. We are the working poor
Margaret Carey
Women are exploited because of our capacity to put others’ needs ahead of our own. We are underpaid because we care – and we’re angry

So that’s the description from the subeditors. The first para reads:

I first began working in the childcare sector in 1990. As a recent graduate with a degree in visual arts, it was the obvious career path to become a cook in a long day care centre for toddlers! It was a non-profit community-based service and resonated with my values and beliefs.

Getting a job that resonates with your values and beliefs is pay luvvie. And perhaps the degree and career choice could have been more closely aligned?

When I began to have children of my own, the position became untenable. Around the birth of my first child I discovered a couple of things that really unsettled me.

First, as a spouse, I was not considered by society as an individual at all. I was without independence and completely financially reliant on my partner. I had never been without the ability to earn some money, and the feeling that I was now individually penniless was a humiliating discovery. To be clear, it was a feeling of my own doing as my partner had no qualms about being the breadwinner and did not in any way play a guilt trip on me but I profoundly felt as if I had been robbed of something.

Err, yes, the family is the primary economic unit among us humans. Not unusual among viviparous mammals either.

27 thoughts on “This first para explains it all”

  1. “From the perspective of this early childhood educator it will remain broken until the incomes of the women who educate our youngest children reflect our professional work.”

    You’re wiping snotty noses and shitty bottoms, and singing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’, love.

    When did that become ‘professional work’..?

  2. When did that become ‘professional work’..?

    Indeed, and if it were ever made professional work those bums wouldn’t get wiped and the noses would remain snotty. We’ve already seen this with nursing.

  3. Totally unrelated, but I was a little flabbergasted at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38058402

    It seems we’re all subsidising people in social housing until they earn £60k. Govt tried to bring it down to £31k (£40k in London) and got masses of flak for it so have now backed off. So we think that people* earning between £31k and £60k should be getting a subsidised rent (given the UK average is £25k or so) ?

    *The lucky few who get social housing, anyhow – paid for by the rest of us

  4. “The lucky few who get social housing, anyhow”

    The ones who have a mate in the housing department most likely, especially in Tower Hamlets…………….

  5. “Getting a job that resonates with your values and beliefs is pay luvvie”

    They want it all. Don’t call them selfish though.

  6. So ‘society’ is to blame for this shrill whinger’s dissatisfaction with current state of her life as a parent. Grow up, love: all things pass…

  7. “We’ve already seen this with nursing.”

    Quite so. And when nurses become professionals, auxiliaries must be appointed to empty bedpans.

    As the police, likewise, become ‘professionalised’, so PCSOs must be appointed to patrol the streets.

    And so the competitive status-seeking of groups of public sector workers inflates salaries and increases staff numbers.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    I suspect that a large proportion of women would have been glad of the opportunity to give up work and spend time with their growing children. In other articles we get told how important it is.

  9. “From the perspective of this early childhood educator”

    Ah, I see the problem. You think you’re an educator and not a babysitter. Common mistake.

  10. Women are exploited because of our capacity to put others’ needs ahead of our own.

    My experience working with women teachers is that women care a bit more than men about their own children and less than men about other people’s. Quite logical when you think about it.

  11. She accepted a bargain from a university- she accepts everything they say, they give her a certificate to say she’s dead clever.
    Trouble is she isn’t especially clever and they told her a load of rubbish.

  12. ‘Childcare workers are underpaid because we’re women.’

    “Employers pay what they have to pay to attract and retain people who can do what they want done.” – GC

    ‘Women are exploited because of our capacity to put others’ needs ahead of our own.’

    Nah. You are ‘exploited’ cos you took the job.

    Childcare workers are paid what the market will bare. The market doesn’t care what sex you are, luvie. And what job can you not put other’s needs ahead of yours?

    “Sorry, boss. I’ll get to that when I’ve finished talking to my girlfriend.”

  13. Would hubby be a little more self aware of the trade offs he’s made I wonder.
    -Pretty
    -Good in the sack
    -Caring, good for me and little’uns

    That’ll do peg, that’ll do.

  14. “First, as a spouse, I was not considered by society as an individual at all. I was without independence and completely financially reliant on my partner.”

    Sorry, I’ve obviously misread the start of the article and you’re talking about 1900 not 1990.

  15. @jgh

    If she’s completely reliant on her partner, then maybe she should be seen as a ‘plus one’.

    Mind you, I’m not sure that’s the case- lots of my friends aren’t employed, and stay home with the kids. Not sure they get ignored by anyone. People not generally being arseholes and so forth.

  16. > First, as a spouse, I was not considered by society as an individual at all.

    Bollocks. Britain is one of the most individualistic societies in the world.

    > I was without independence and completely financially reliant on my partner.

    Ah, you mean you can’t claim benefits if your partner is working. But if that’s what you want, why don’t you just say so? It’s actually not an unreasonable proposition, and it would make a decent Guardian article. But no, back to the default position of whingeing about the patriarchy.

  17. And as if to illustrate my above comment there’s a piece on the beeb about a female Ukrainian teacher trying to sell one of her pupils, a thirteen year old girl, for parts. Sigh. Crucifixion for that one, I think.

  18. I had never been without the ability to earn some money, and the feeling that I was now individually penniless was a humiliating discovery.

    This was a discovery? Seriously? The possibility of this development didn’t occur to you before you spread your legs? Seriously?

  19. Childcare workers are underpaid because we’re women.

    Because supply outstrips demand actually.

    There’s plenty of money to be made in childcare, but it’s in running the centres rather than staffing them.

    Same as haircutting, which pays peanuts, but leads to owning a place if you are hardworking and competent.

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