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If care is for all, it is public

Mar 11, 2024

The world is experiencing a profound crisis, and at the center of it are care and women. A crisis that has also exacerbated violence against women, against their bodies, against their lives. A crisis that must be stopped now!

The world is experiencing a profound crisis, and at the center of it are care and women. A crisis that has also exacerbated violence against women, against their bodies, against their lives. A crisis that must be stopped now!

From our position as Public Services International (PSI), we have talked about the importance of care and also about how government and public services can help change gender inequalities and the differences between the Global North and the Global South. We want caring and being cared for not to depend only on families - and within families, on women - or on how much money they have, and not to benefit at the cost of low paid or unfair, racialized and migrant jobs. We ask that care be seen as an act of social responsibility regulated as a public and common good of humanity.

In most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, social care systems (such as care for the elderly, people with disabilities, early childhood care, people in vulnerable situations) are practically non-existent, and the State is largely absent from their provision. In addition, the private supply of social care is limited or extremely expensive. This means that most care work, including social care, takes place within families and communities, and is largely performed by women.

Moreover, regressive national fiscal policies, often encouraged or imposed by international financial institutions, undermine the responsibility of states to provide public services that guarantee human rights.

Our Manifesto has become a political document calling for the reconstruction of the Social Organization of Care, recognizing the social and economic value of care work (paid or unpaid) and the human right to care.

As PSI in Latin America and the Caribbean, we call for this new model to put people's care before profit and to promote decent work for care workers, for which we urgently demand:

Reward, remunerate and represent care work and care workers with:

  • professionalized work,

  • equal pay for work of equal value,

  • adequate pensions,

  • comprehensive social protection,

  • healthy and safe working conditions,

  • an environment free of violence and harassment

  • strong representation,

  • full exercise of their rights to unionization, collective bargaining and social dialogue in line with the Decent Work Agenda of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Reclaim the public character of care services and reestablish the primary duty and responsibility of the State to provide public care services, in line with the Decent Work Agenda of the International Labor Organization (ILO):

  • to provide public care services,

  • to develop care systems that transform gender relations and women's lives,

  • financing the State's investment capacity through fair and progressive taxation, guaranteeing equal tax rights for women and men, and

  • guaranteeing equal fiscal rights for nation states and at the international level.

Let's act now! When decent work and unionization increase in key social care sectors such as care for the elderly, people with disabilities, early childhood care, people in vulnerable situations, the quality of care services also increases through adequate public provision.

Let us join efforts to promote policies that promote decent work in these sectors.

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