We must not turn back the clock on the quality framework for early learning. Arguing that childcare deregulation supports feminism ignores the history of the issue …
Trisha Jha invites feminists to support childcare deregulation using the spurious reasoning that somehow feminists want to work so badly that they would be prepared to settle for an open market of care for their children with no quality frameworks in place.
She needs a history lesson. Affordable, quality care for children has been at the heart of the feminist agenda since the ’60s. Feminists understood the relationship between employment for women and quality care was crucial, and many of us deferred our working lives because of the absence of quality care. We wanted our children to have the best start in life.
It has been a long journey persuading our society that while work is central to our lives, it cannot be at the cost of our motherhood. The battle for maternity leave won in court in 1978 was a part of protecting our unique mothering role. As feminists we cared deeply about having time off after birth and returning to work with the security of knowing our children were well cared for.
However, settling for safe and happy care is not good enough. As a society we settled for that for years and it is a limited aspiration. Why? There is now a solid body of research showing that more than 80 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs before they start school, and access to quality early learning sets a child up for lifelong learning.
SOURCE: McCarthy, Wendy. “Quality childcare requires regulation.” ABC: The Drum, Tuesday 1 Apr 2014
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia