Why are Mamas/Parents expected to work like they don’t have children and raise children like they don't work? In this country, the answers are racism and sexism. For our entire nation’s history, labor such as caring for children and aging family members, cooking, and keeping house has been viewed as “women’s work” because for so long it has predominantly been expected out of or forced on women. Work that from slavery to current day has largely been performed by Black, Indigenous and Immigrant women of color both in homes and in public spaces.This work goes unpaid, unrecognized and mostly unappreciated. But this “Mother Work” is one of the most important.
The truth is, this socioeconomic system that has been built forces us to deny our humanity. No matter what industrial growth, or innovation we accomplish as a society, we are all just that, human. We have children, we get sick and so do those who we love. But in these cases it is women who are expected to bare the burden of caring for others and make financial sacrifices to do so.
This history of devaluing mothering labor shows up in today's policy and investment in childcare. Free labor once provided by enslaved women and other women of color allows our current systems to grossly underinvest leaving early care and education providers earning wages that average $10.72/hr forcing them and their families to often utilize public income support. Black early educators in particular earn less than their peers across racial groups and settings.Underinvestment and poor childcare policies are often rooted in old ideals of two parent households where women are left to care for the children and dont need to earn money. Today our families are made up in a variety of different ways with 91% of income gains experienced by middle class families over the last forty years were driven by women’s earnings.
Mothering Justice seeks to decrease the income gap of early educators and caregivers and build childcare policies that fully support every Michigan family. Through these changes, we expect to help facilitate the dismantling of systems that keep women in a constant state of economic instability and disenfranchisement.