When feminist ideas are hijacked: women's experience of the contemporary childcare landscape

Harris, Nonie, and Tinning, Beth (2015) When feminist ideas are hijacked: women's experience of the contemporary childcare landscape. In: Raith, Lisa, Jones, Jenny, and Porter, Marie, (eds.) Mothers at the Margins: stories of challenge, resistance and love. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, pp. 172-186.

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In the 21st Century Australian women are told that they have equality and all of life's options are available to them – it's just a matter of making the right choices. This is a social and policy context shaped by a neo-liberal ideology that promotes 'the privileging of de-contextualised narratives that emphasise self-determination and the elevation of personal choice over considerations of collective good' (Baker 2003, 1). Within this neo-liberal context the experiences of women are negated and depoliticised, and personal experience is isolated from the social structures that continue to benefit from sexism. There is no public linking of women's needs to the provision of the services, such as formal childcare, that have a great impact on their lives. Mothers and their needs are marginalised. In this chapter we 'hear' the voices of mothers as they describe their experience of using long day care in a complex and rapidly changing childcare landscape. These women-centred experiences are at odds with a gender-neutral policy context where childcare is no longer seen as a women's issue, thus diverting the public gaze from women's very real individualised struggles in this so-called time of 'choice' and equality. Was this what feminists called for when we demanded men and the community share the responsibility of raising children?

Item ID: 38509
Item Type: Book Chapter (Scholarly Work)
ISBN: 978-1-4438-7235-5
Keywords: childcare; feminist policy analysis
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2015 00:27
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940113 Gender and Sexualities @ 100%
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