This election all parties are looking at homecare, children’s care and taxation of the household. That sounds dull but it affects nearly every citizen. It also may be the cusp of a revolution. What is happening is a redefinition of work.
In the 1900s women challenged laws that said, “No idiot or woman shall vote”. Ultimately after many petitions and appeals, Canadian women in 1918 could vote.
Similarly, women challenged laws that said women were not persons in law and could not sit in the Senate. After several legal appeals in October 1929, women were declared persons and got that right.
Whether women are as competent as men has been a long debate with big hurdles. Laws set up by men and economies set up to value men’s work have been blind to the women’s roles at home. Women at home were looked on with pity and tokenism as an obvious lower class and were given a small spousal deduction, a one-day celebration of mothers and a small allowance for a family.
We now have another debate, as big as whether women are idiots or persons. This is about whether women work, whether roles at home are worthwhile to society and the economy, and if these roles are to be encouraged or discouraged.
In the 1960s we only dared define work as what men did and dared to let women do but our success there leaves one last hurdle.
This part of the revolution is to redefine work itself.
Income splitting, universal child benefits, caregiver rights and homecare funding are items in the revolution to redefine work.
It’s a big task. And yet, in this election Canadians are up for it. We’ve taken on basic words before. It’s how revolutions happen.