"Men rely on mums to sort kids:" Bill Shorten states the obvious and makes headlines.
June 6, 2016
Never a dull moment in political reaction from the Tele these days.
“In a remark likely to inflame women, Mr Shorten said men relied on women to organise child care.”
I’m sorry mate, but I don't find that inflammatory at all, I find it refreshing. Finally, a federal male politician publicly pays tribute to a little bit, I repeat, a little bit, of the unpaid work that women actually do.
What is there to be outraged about when a male politician, possibly our future Prime Minister actually publicly recognises the unpaid work that women do every day?
“In announcing his $3 billion childcare package to increase subsidies yesterday, Mr Shorten — who described Tony Abbott as a dinosaur — also relegated women to having “the second job in the family”.
“Let’s face it, men in Australia rely on the women in Australia to do the childcare and to organise childcare,” Mr Shorten said.
“Where you’ve got mums working part-time or fulltime, it’s the second job in the family, and frankly they’re doing a lot of the unpaid work — they’ve got to try to work out the childcare bills.””
YEP! Thanks Bill for stating the bleeding obvious.
But what surprises me further is Channel 9’s Lisa Wilkinson reaction.
“When Bill Shorten describes women a having the second job and men, quote, ‘rely on women to take care of all things when it comes to looking after the kids’ — in other words so men can get on with doing all the important stuff — isn’t he entrenching a stereotype of women as second class citizens” .
“Isn’t parenting about sharing responsibilities?”
Maybe in your household Lisa, but not out there for the majority of women in family land.
“And isn’t confirming the outdated belief that women should always be in charge of the unpaid work and therefore giving any men who still do permission to keep thinking that way ... isn’t that like ... so last century?”
I think Lisa is missing the point.
Let me remind everyone of last Century thinking:
“What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up.” Former PM and Minister for Women Tony Abbott 2010.
I’ll outline what still outrages me about this comment - it pigeonholes women – “housewives”, ironing (no one irons these days who has the time?).
There’s a big glass ceiling in that comment as well and it’s a throwback to Abbott’s halcyon days where women were not allowed to work or actually discouraged from working. It’s patronizing and there is a huge difference in what Bill Shorten is implying.
By Bill Shorten saying “organising child care” he’s implying women work, have a right to work, have busy lives, but still takes on lion’s share of the unpaid work of running a household with children.
And countless studies back this.
And the more polticians tell it like it is in terms of the INVISIBLE work women in Australian households do every day, the more that unpaid work is recognised as the real labour that it actually is – well the more it becomes valuable in this society.
He’s putting a value on women’s unpaid labour. He’s putting a value on a woman's work. He's putting a value on a woman. It’s a teeny tiny step forward but ‘bout bloody time. Cheers Bill.