I have a guest post running over at Your (Wo)man in Washington on the topic of child care, and whether it truly qualifies as unskilled labor. I hope that you will check it out and leave your comments!
In Morristown, New Jersey, near where I live, you can go to the train station on any given day and find an immigrant man who is willing to do just about any unskilled work you are willing to pay him to do, like painting your house or moving furniture. Yes, you don’t need an advanced degree or specialized training in order to diaper a baby’s bottom or bandage a skinned knee any more than you need one to slap on a coat of primer or carry a couch up two flights of stairs. Even so, you aren’t going to find me at the train station picking up a woman to watch my young children anytime soon. So maybe it isn’t quite as easy as Guest seems to think it is.Finding the kind of childcare that we need – consistent, reliable, high-quality and affordable – is often simply a matter of luck and is by no means a given. Luckily, it seems that someone is Washington is finally figuring out what we have known all along. According to a recent Washington Post article, Nancy Pelosi recognizes that the child care issue is key to allowing women to fully assert their presence in the workforce, and has vowed to put quality affordable child care on the national agenda if she regains her position as the Speaker of the House. Even if she isn’t successful in her bid, at least she is finally bringing the issue to the fore: for women to be able to work for pay while maintaining a good quality of life, not to mention their sanity, we need someone to take care of our children.