Childcare is not a women’s issue

Childcare, UKIP, Nigel Farage

Would you ask this man to babysit your children? Pic credit below.

 

I am today full of angst. The reason is this news report on the BBC website about UKIP’s attempts to reach out to women.

The fact it’s an announcement by UKIP doesn’t help my angst. My real objection, however, is to the idea that any political party would consider childcare a women’s issue.

This is an assertion I see in news print with irritating regularity. Every time it happens, my blood pressure heads north.

Okay, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We all know the cost of childcare is prohibitive to many women returning to the workforce once their maternity leave comes to an end (as of last week of course, this will be their share of shared parental leave). The way society presently operates, this is an issue that disproportionately affects women. I do get this.

Even so, childcare is an issue of huge importance to men. If I think back to my days as a full time working father, I was just as reliant on good quality, reliable childcare as my wife.

If both partners work, even if one of them only works part time, then both are likely to need some form of paid-for childcare provision. If it falls through, this is likely to impact on both of them, not just the mum. If the family needs the income of two working parents, then how can this possibly be an issue solely of interest to the mother?

Also, if childcare is a women’s issue where does this leave the eight per cent of single parent households headed by men? Or the male same sex couples raising children?

Childcare may be an issue of interest to women, but it is not solely a women’s issue. The sooner pollsters, policy makers and politicians realise this the better.

There endeth my sermon.

Pic credit: Diliff, Reproduced under Creative Commons greement 3.0.

The Dad Network

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23 Comments

  1. April 11, 2015 / 6:24 am

    I completely agree with you John although it doesn’t surprise me that political parties try to crudely segment the electorate when trying to appeal to them. I imagine that UKIP doesn’t poll so well with women so they’re fishing for votes. UKIP does strike me as a party rooted firmly in views from the past – this but adds to the list.

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:34 am

      All parties segment the electorate to some degree. It strikes me that on this occasion UKIP has done a spectacularly ham fisted job of it.

  2. April 11, 2015 / 7:10 am

    Not living in the UK I had not picked up on this one. Another reason to kick UKIP well and truly off the poitical map, though. #BigFatLInky

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:33 am

      The problem of living in France, however, is that you must contend with the Fronte National! Not sure which is worse to be honest.

  3. April 11, 2015 / 7:17 am

    Right. For couples, the decision about what to do when maternity leave ends is made by the both of you. Of course women and men are affected, and that goes for many of the other policies noted in the BBC article too. Rather than segregate women in policies to appeal to them, wouldn’t it make more sense to highlight policies that would bridge the equality gap?

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:32 am

      Indeed it would David. I think the way UKIP has approached this says it all really. it doesn’t get equality.

  4. April 11, 2015 / 7:36 am

    Completely agree with you. We both work and we both pay towards the childcare. Where Zach was going was a joint decision and we are both counting down the time when his free hours kicks in (come on January!). Yes I do the taking Zach to and from nursery 98% of the time but that wouldn’t be the case of the other half didn’t work an hour and a half away and could drive hehe! The whole shared leave will hopefully help things a bit although if the other half thinks I’ll be giving up any of my maternity leave if we have another baby, he’s got another thing coming haha!!! #bigfatlinky

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:30 am

      Thanks for commenting Lisa. You may find the blog post I’m goign to publish on Monday interesting.

  5. April 11, 2015 / 7:54 am

    Another great post and one where I completely agree. I love how these topics are always centred running upto elections but in reality they get put on the back burner. It’ll be interesting to see. As for UKIP well I’m shocked that they’re trying now to connect to women. It’s interesting to see how some still believe childcare is a woman’s role it definitely isolate the % of men that lead their household. Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:28 am

      A pleasure to link up Martyn. Thanks for hosting! Also glad to see you agree.

  6. April 11, 2015 / 8:28 am

    Totally agree with you. Childcare is something which effects the whole family. Ah politics you really just have to laugh at times, at least it gives us women something to think about as we are sat in a corner draped in a sheet breastfeeding (sarcasm end)

  7. April 11, 2015 / 9:07 am

    Couldn’t agree more – it is something that affects the whole family. Great post 🙂 #bigfatlinky

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:27 am

      Thanks for commenting. It does indeed affect the whole family and politicians must accept this.

  8. April 11, 2015 / 11:08 am

    I’m in full Agreement John, childcare affects families, but it is yet more of where UKIP “the peoples party” shows it cares nothing of the people and their thoughts, or at least not people who do not want to live 70 years in the past.

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:26 am

      Eurgh, I find something very patronising in the concept of a “people’s party”. I think my blog post possibly makes this clear!

  9. April 11, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    I’d rather let a pack of wild dingos baby sit!

    Political parties, the media and even us, are all guilty of this flagrant blanket sexism, it’s something that is ingrained into us. It is up to us to break the cycle and show our children what equality should look like.

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 12, 2015 / 5:23 am

      You’re absolutelty right, we alll shoulder some of the burden for this sexism. You might, by the way, like the post I will be publishing in Monday.

  10. April 13, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    I’m in complete agreement, John. Childcare is a FAMILY issue with so many facets: who works, financial factors, logistics … Even in households such as ours, where I work full-time and my wife works part-time, childcare is as much my issue as hers. Just because I only do drop-offs and pick-ups occasionally doesn’t mean that I’m not fully involved in other aspects of childcare. It’s something that we – and many other parents too – do as a team. To treat it any other way is frankly insulting.

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 15, 2015 / 5:06 am

      Yes Tim; childcare should be and usually is a team effort, even if this isn’t universally recognised. We must keep shouting about this to effect change.

  11. April 14, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    it’s absolutely a family issue! How patronising to say that it’s a women’s issue!! Yes of course women are interested in policies regarding childcare but so are men! It almost sounds as if women are paying for childcare alone! I have just left a well paid job because of the cost of childcare and don’t know anyone who is more interested in childcare policies than my husband who is now the sole earner in the household!

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 15, 2015 / 5:09 am

      Hello Christine and thanks for commenting. You’ve raised another issue; when I was a working dad I contributed massively to trhe childcare costs, as is the case in many households. How many people take zero interest in the services they pay for?? Very few! That includes dads who contribute to childcare costs.

  12. April 14, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    I’m a bit torn on this one and am probably going to get a bit of back lash but what about us couples where the childcare does fall to the woman? My husband works full time, he leaves the house before the nursery opens & gets home after it closes. I run my business from home so it makes more sense for me to manage the childcare around my work commitments. For me to chose the nursery that I feel works best for us as a family. I also pay the childcare fees.

    Yes it is sexist to assume the childcare always falls to the women of the relationship and I don’t agree with using this blanket assumption but couples are all very different, and in our instance childcare is the responsibility of the woman.

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 15, 2015 / 5:16 am

      Never a back lash on Dadbloguk Toni, only ever polite challenge! On that note, I am going to politely challenge you! Is childcare really all down to you? You may handle all drop off and pick ups but does your husband never show an interest in the childcare provider or give feedback about your offspring’s development?

      You have also made the point I was trying to; you can’t assume childcare falls on the woman of the relationship. In some relationships there is no woman (widowers, male divorcees, same sex couples for instance). It’s only in recent years the mainstream political parties have begun to appreciate that family set ups are and always have been incredibly complex and the nuclear family has never been quite as popular as we all like to think. UKIP, as UKIP often does, seems to be going against the tide with this announcement. That said ‘though, when was the last time a Government had a children and families minister who was male? We’ve had at least one male women and equalites minster but children and familes, not so.