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Housewife's revenge

The anti-feminists have good times in the community holidays. The government should use the opportunity to remove the cash subsidy.


[20. July 2007] This could be the summer when the gender equality debate was meaningless. First out was model mom Eivor Øvrebø's suggestion that Norwegian models are lazy, fat, old and useless at international level. She sends herself into the shame corner where she should think about what kind of signals she is sending to the thousands of young girls she has helped to judge as a long-time juror in the Face of the Year. Secondly, Frps Per Bjørnar Rødde launched his Asian wife and himself as ideal when he used the front page of Dagbladet to tell voters that working Norwegian women are self-perceived threats to family values. Last Saturday, the main thing in Dagens Næringsliv was a sunny story about Norwegian housewives' happy and busy everyday life, filled with airline tickets, children driving, tennis and horse care. The housewives must be given higher status, the people involved themselves thought, and the newspaper contributed by giving them the title "housewives", which shows that this is a stately position regardless of children. Then came Jens Ulltveit-Moe, with something similar to a real proposal: He wants to make it cheaper to have a maid so that well-educated women can work even if they have family.

The investor does not care about issues related to class and feminisation of poverty, but nonetheless highlights a feminist point of view with the proposal: Work at home is also work, although it has traditionally been unpaid. In Sweden, Feminist Initiative's Gudrun Schyman has called for similar proposals, precisely to make it clear that washing, childcare and cooking are jobs similar to other jobs.

It should be easier to purchase such services legally. But it should not be cheaper. Until the distribution of such work becomes more equal, this will reinforce the gender pay gap. Washing someone else's crap is no less worthwhile than the other one is doing in the meantime.

The paradox is that we already pay some women to do this work. But only if they do it in their own home and without the help of others. The cash support debate is back on track, although none of the government parties will remove it during this period. They should reconsider that, while they have a majority in the Storting. The scheme was controversial in the Center Party, and abolition has broad support in the SV and the Labor Party. Now it has also been proven beyond any doubt that cash support has all the negative consequences we feared in advance.

In the summer there are many who would like to be home with children. There is no reason not to remove the cash support. It gives Norwegian women a financial reason to be at home, when most people prefer to work elsewhere. Cash support gives this freedom of choice to those to whom everything is forced. Many are involuntary cash beneficiaries pending kindergarten space. The support reinforces the tendency for minority women to stay home with the children instead of being integrated into a workplace. It is an intensive to stay longer at home for those who have to go the way of low pay and uncertain guards to enter the working life after birth. And the size of the cash support provides a day-to-day life very far from the Marbella housewives.

Ola Borten Moe and Kristin Halvorsen signal that the money now going to cash support should rather be used for a monthly payment scheme for mothers without a job. The first step must be to remove the protection of the cash support. It is not a breach of promise, it is a promise.

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