When feminist ideas are hijacked: how the demand for men to take up child care responsibilities impacts formal child care policy

Harris, Nonie, and Tinning, Beth (2011) When feminist ideas are hijacked: how the demand for men to take up child care responsibilities impacts formal child care policy. In: Mothers at the Margins. pp. 24-25. From: Mothers at the Margins - Sixth Australian International, Interdisciplinary Conference on Motherhood, April 27-30, 2011, Brisbane.

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Abstract

Second wave feminists called for a more equal and just society. They demanded the recognition of issues that were traditionally off the political agenda – so called women's issues – from domestic violence, contraception and access to safe abortion to affordable quality child care.

Today policy discussions about issues that directly impact women's lives are carefully couched in gender-neutral language. The impact of policy on women's lives is rendered invisible by the disappearance of 'women' into 'people', 'parents' and 'families'. Formal child care policy is an example of a public policy that continues to resolutely ignore the different lives of men and women.

This paper presents qualitative data gathered from women in northern regional Australia, interviewed in two research studies in 2007 and 2009/10. Women spoke of their search for quality long day care in a complex and rapidly changing child care landscape. From this data we argue that child care is no longer seen as a women's issue, diverting the public gaze from women's very real struggles in this so-called time of 'choice' and equality. Was this what feminists called for when we demanded men share the responsibility of raising children?

Item ID: 21605
Item Type: Conference Item (Non-Refereed Research Paper)
Funders: Ian Potter Foundation
Projects and Grants: Community Wellbeing Grant
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2013 06:03
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160703 Social Program Evaluation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9499 Other Law, Politics and Community Services > 949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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