By Beatriz Revuelta (El Mostrador)
HAVANA TIMES — There is a strong women’s movement in Chile that has been fighting for years for the recognition of care work. The caregiving revolution that many civil society organizations have been advancing finds its clearest expression in the presentation of the “Right to Care and Recognition of Unpaid Domestic and Care Work” initiative, presented to the Constitutional Convention in recent days. This initiative could make possible the recognition of care work as a social right, for the first time in Chile.
Presented by 16 Convention members, and to which are added 47 civil society organizations and 34 Convention members, it aims to establish two fundamental articles: 1) the right to care, which establishes that every citizen has the right to care, to be cared for and to take care of themselves throughout their lives, and that the State must guarantee the means so that this care is dignified and carried out in conditions of equality and shared responsibility, by creating a system of full support; and 2) the recognition of domestic and care work as socially necessary and essential work for the sustainability of life and the development of society.
This second article establishes that the State must guarantee working hours compatible with care work, promoting equality and the sharing of social and gender responsibilities. The reality of caregivers could change significantly if this initiative is adopted and welcomed.
Most existing government social programs today lack a relative understanding of care work. A subsidiary approach prevails, offering support only to people it deems to be ‘vulnerable’. In many cases, state benefits are limited in time and funds, so help only reaches certain people and is temporary; Additionally, there is a significant regional gap in access to services and support.
A global care system would put people at the heart of the equation, establishing certain essential guarantees so that care is a shared responsibility, and that the State is present. Such a system would consider proportional support; strengthen a multisectoral and municipal work network, thus protecting the just right of citizens to take care of themselves, to take care of others and to be cared for, in a society worthy of Life.
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