HAVANA TIMES – There is a strong women’s movement in Chile that has been fighting for the recognition of care work for years. The revolution of caregiving that many civil society organizations have pushed forward has its clearest expression in the presentation of the initiative of the “Right to care and recognition of unpaid domestic and care work”, put before the Constitutional Convention in recent days. This initiative could make possible recognition of care work as a social right, for the first time in Chile.
Presented by 16 Convention members, and with another 47 civil society organizations and 34 Convention members joining them, it aims to establish two fundamental articles: 1) the right to care, which establishes that every citizen has the right to care for, be cared for and to care for themselves over the course of their lives, and that the State needs to guarantee the means for this care to be dignified and carried out in conditions of equality and shared responsibility, by creating a Comprehensive Care System; and 2) recognition of domestic and care work, as socially necessary and essential work for the sustainability of life and society’s development.
This second article establishes that the State must guarantee a work schedule that is compatible with care work, promoting equality and shared social and gender-focused responsibilities. The reality of caregivers could change significantly if this initiative is passed and welcomed.
Most of the existing Government social programs today lack a relative understanding of care work. A subsidiary focus prevails, only offering support to people it believes to be “vulnerable”. In many cases, State benefits are limited in time and funds, so aid only comes to some people and is temporary; plus, there is a significant regional gap in access to services and support.
A comprehensive care system would put people at the heart of the equation, establishing certain key guarantees so that care is a shared responsibility, and the State is present. A system like this would contemplate proportional support; strengthen a network of multisector and communal work, thereby protecting citizens’ fair right to look after themselves, to care for others and be cared for, in a society that dignifies Life.