Tackling the cost of childcare is incredibly important and I’m pleased that it will be a big part of our offer at the next general election. But we need to change our narrative on it.
It’s true that in most cases women are still the primary caregivers. This is clearly an issue that affects women more than men. That’s because we live in a society where, wrongly, gender roles are assigned and too often go unchallenged. Reducing the cost of childcare is important to women’s equality, as it would allow more women to overcome those stereotypes and return to work when they want to.
But, rather than accepting that women tend to be primary caregivers, we need to be challenging it.As the party of equality, Labour should be at the forefront of that. When talking about childcare it should be clear that we do not see this as a “women’s issue”, but rather as a parental issue – a responsibility that we expect men to undertake as much as women.
Our childcare policy should be a One Nation policy, aimed at all genders.
There’s no doubting that childcare is an issue that impacts on women more than men, but by refusing to challenge that stereotype and continuing to frame it as a women’s issue, we only serve to entrench the sexism in society.