Caring about caring is a feminist issue.
Proceeding from the Harvester Judgement of 1907, basic working wages in Australia were essentially constructed to cover the reasonable needs of a family. This placed women and children in a position of dependence and women’s work was relegated to a space outside national productivity accounting. Working women were not offered the basic wage as social norms at that time expected that this was supplementing the husband’s already adequate wage. Women were actively prevented from many higher paid jobs, and maternity leave was irrelevant as women were expected to cease working once pregnant. In 1919, women’s wages were set at 54% of the male basic wage which only rose to 75% in the 1950s (Hearn 2006).
There has been substantial research on the importance of caring in the nursing profession which has shone a light about the different perceptions of aspects of caring between nursing staff and their patients (see, for example, Essen & Sjoden 1995; Larsson et al. 1998). The findings indicate that those receiving the care value clear information and explanations, anticipating needs as well as facilitation, monitoring and following through more highly than issues such as comfort and accessibility. If we look at those findings and apply the same concept to parenting, partnering or friendships, I believe that we can make some serious adjustments in our everyday lives that will enhance our relationships.