Carers: from invisible to sheroes

The following text and facts are excerpts from “Invisible Women, Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Perez, as we thought no one better than her could introduce this topic. 

“Globally, 75% of unpaid work is done by women, who spend between three and six hours per day on it compared to men’s average of thirty minutes to two hours. This imbalance starts early (girls as young as five do significantly more household chores than their brothers) and increases as they get older. 

In the UK up to 70% of all unpaid dementia carers are women, and female carers are more likely to help with bathing, dressing, using the toilet and managing incontinence. Women are more than twice as likely as men to be providing intensive on-duty care for someone twenty-four hours a day, and to have been caring for someone with dementia for more than five years. 

The upshot is that around the world, with very few exceptions, women work longer hours than men. Sex-disaggregated data* is not available for all countries, but for those where the data exists, the trend is clear. 

In Korea, women work for thirty-four minutes longer than men per day, in Portugal it’s ninety minutes, in China it’s forty-four minutes, and in South Africa it’s forty-eight minutes.”

In the UK 77% of healthcare workers are women,

as are 83% of the social care workforce.

Women carry out 60% more unpaid work than men.
In the current Covid-19 times, 77% of the 3,200,000 workers in ‘high risk’ roles are women.

Over a million of these workers are paid below 60% median wages. 98% are women.
This is the reality of carers - the newly defined ‘heroes’. But carers need more than Boris Johnson’s badges and “thank you’s” and our weekly Thursday five-minute claps. They need more to subsidise their full-time work than the mere £67.25 per week allocated through carer’s allowance. This unpaid, disregarded form of labour must be considered valuable work under Capitalism.
Data from this workforce must be collected and added to all countries GDP so that a true reflection of the many roles and responsibilities that contribute to a country's capital is accurately documented. Capitalist and neoliberal systems have a tendency to herosize people one day to discard them the following. We hope carers’ destinies won’t follow the trend. We certainly see you, hear your stories and are so grateful.

*Data collected and tabulated separately for women and men. Gender statistics rely on these sex-disaggregated data and reflect the realities of the lives of women and men and policy issues relating to gender. Image by MC2.8

Print from original work | Limited edition of prints (100) | 16"x20" | NFS

Frontliners In Spring

“When COVID-19 pandemic took place and lockdowns were enforced across the globe, it exposed the reality of who the ‘essential’ workers are on the frontline.  Essential workers whose work is too critical to stop despite ‘stay at home’ orders, and for most, don’t have a choice to stay home.

Care workers are at the forefront in this unprecedented time, combating the spread of COVID-19. About 75% of care workers in most cities are women and they are not valued economically. They are among the frontline workers most likely to have access to health insurance, although 7% lack it. And more than 8% live below the federal poverty line, most of those are women of colour and more likely to be immigrants.

These care workers are directly engaged in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients; the elderly, immune-compromised and vulnerable populations with the biggest threats of being exposed to COVID-19. Many have no option but to go to work with inadequate protection. They put themselves at high risk everyday, some quarantined after their shifts, unable to see their families. Some have watched their coworkers fall ill. Thousands have gotten sick themselves. And some have died. This piece is a salute to them and their contributions, these women are the ones in the frontline carrying the burden of spring for all of us this year.”

Beautiful Nurse in the Mist with Amphetamine Kindly Provided by the Government

“This painting celebrates the heroic effort of nurses in the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. While society is saving its own unprepared sanity through an escapism into fantasies, conspiracy theories and narratives sourced from sci-fi and apocalyptic films, the real sheroes, wearing real masks save the real world. Sheroes: real mothers, real daughters, real sisters and neighbours are separated from the perceived salvation of these fantasies by their crude reality in the mist of an unknown future. 

The painting alludes to the failure of the state to provide appropriately for these health workers and to the absurdity of the current situation when powerful countries disclose their own negligence and neglect of their vital health systems which have been left in decline. These are the echoes, elevated into a national level, of any story that has been silenced and ignored and yet awaits its moment of justice. In some sense, the portrait of the nurse tells a #metoo story – but is it exclusively a story of women workers? Hasn’t it, in fact, become a story of each of us who can potentially be refused help and support when we need it most?

The predicament of COVID-19 has revealed that our position, roles and status in society can be dramatically overturned. This is formally represented by the replacement of traditional canvas with a homemade woven fabric. The knit also refers to activities, somewhat also previously forgotten and abandoned, but now rediscovered and cherished during the current quarantine. The aspect of ‘homemade-ness’  is being widely implemented today to evade ‘home-madness’.

The ‘Beautiful Nurse in the Mist with Amphetamine…’ Is a ‘sister’ version of ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds, but it is a version without any actual drugs being available.”

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Sheroes is a collaborative project that highlights hidden herstories through the arts.

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Sheroes is a Lon-art project. Copyright © 2019.  All rights reserved.

Cece Carpio

Cece Carpio is a ‘social artist’ painting people and places, working towards a more dignified existence. Using acrylic, ink, aerosol and installations, her work tells stories of immigration, ancestry, resistance and resilience. She documents evolving traditions by combining folkloric forms, bold portraits and natural elements with urban art techniques. She has been awarded the Rockwood Institute Fellowship for leaders engaged in the Arts as a critical agent of change.

Agnieszka Aleksandra Dlugosz

Agnieszka Aleksandra Dlugosz was born in Krakow, where she completed a Masters in Film and Mass Media at the Jagiellonian University. The theoretical research carried out during her studies strongly influenced her artistic explorations during her subsequent Fine Art Degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. She divides her time between London and Essex where she has based her studio since 2017. Agnieszka has exhibited across London as well as in Essex including at both Chelmsford Cathedral and the Chelmsford Museum where she curated a collaborative show in 2018. Her paintings on knitted surfaces (knitting by Juan Rodriguez) “Zorra” and “Smashing”, dedicated women’s empowerment and female heroes (sheroes), were recently shown in Spain during the 27th International Film Festival Curtas 2019.

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