may 1st :women’s labor value

am writing this to honor my mother Nene and all the mothers and women who work daily at home to provide us a life. every may 1st,ed and i would join the workers to observe labor day. last year, our whole family and staff joined the workers with a youth delegation from denmark. we brought young leaders from denmark and five phil.provinces to plaza miranda and listened to the speeches of labor leaders. this year, ed went to naujan and i went to lucena. but i spent may 1st attending mommy puri endiape’s 80th birthday with my maruknoll classmates. as mommy puri and her friends were dancing the hula ,i reflected on what women are experiencing now in the labor market.

now mothers and houseworkers share the same situation with young women workers. many young women do not get paid employment – they get income from commissions. i went to a health spa on may 2nd in lucena to have my TMG treated. i asked the hilot i got how much was her pay. she said ” am not a regular employee but i get a commission after treating you for an hour and a half”. “you do not get a salary from this spa?” i asked. “no maam, i will get a hundred pesos from your payment.”she replied . “but you work here seven days a week from 1 pm to 10pm?” i inquired. “yes maam,” she answered” i have to come here daily to earn a commission so i can support my six siblings.” i pressed her for more details and i found out that many of the women who provide services are not employees, though they are given philhealth and sss memberships but no basic pay. i inquired from my siblings who run health businesses and they said the trend is to get job orders. women are hired to be available for services but they are not wage workers. my sister said that sales girls in big stores ( i wont mention the stores) report for work, dress up well as sales girls but they get commissions only after they sell enough products. “you see them selling products like cosmetics and perfumes and if they dont sell anything, they go home without any commission.” ‘ but that’s unfair labor practice!” i objected.

“do you know why new nurses fresh from graduation cannot find jobs here? ” my friend dada asked me sometime last week. ” why?” because the philippines doesnt have enough political will to reform the labor market . “what do you mean ? i asked. “mika has been applying for a year as a new entry nurse. she made the rounds of all the hospitals in NCR but they will not hire her. they are open to volunteer nurses who must pay an entrance fee and they will accredit her after a year of volunteer service. ” ” haha! that’s another way of outsourcing but not paying.” i said. “mika has to pay in order to get work experience.” i also found out that the big hospitals in NCR require as much as P4000 as entry fees. when i inquired if the Quezon provincial hospital take volunteer nurses, the feedback is ” yes and the fee is P500 a month. ‘its the worker who pays the employer just so she can have work experience.” if mika doesnt have work experience ina hospital, she will not be allowed to work overseas.”explained dada. but even if she doesnt work overseas , how will she survive the labor competition ? the more she is not in paid work, the less she can be hired. because the more obstacles there are to paid work,the less chances new graduates can get paid work. the world of labor certainly has changed radically in methods but not in terms of fairness. ‘FaIRNESS in a Fragile world” ring loudly in deaf ears.

when you think of lifelong service and unpaid work, our mothers and household workers are the champions. i reflect at how long it took my mother to rear 13 children. she got married when she was barely 18 years old, had two children right away, then my father left for studies in the USA and was away for 3 years. my mother was an orphan and had no siblings to support her. she raised two children and supported my father during a time when the country was still reconstructing after world war II . she worked nonstop even when she was rearing us 13 children ! she  organized our growing household and worked as a teacher for 50 years . when we all graduated from college, she and my father continued subsidizing the education of some grandchildren plus children of friends who could not afford college education. my parents must have bankrolled a thousand scholars in the 60 years of their marrriage. my father always had students coming to our house for their allowances. my mother kept adopting girls from lucena, atimonan, meycauayan and liliw. i never realized how much they worked hard until i myself had my own household and had to run a monthly expense account. i pride myself in running a financially simple life with ed but i cannot match the managerial and financial competence of my parents, especially my mother. now i take stock of all the 60 years of their married life and learn from it. in another blog, i have started to write the lessons i got from reading their love letters and listening to their stories.

power to us women. fair pay and fair value to our women’s labor ! the world runs because we women give life .. from life to life while there is life , as the the ELF line goes…. mula sa buhay tungo sa buhay habang may buhay!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Lifelong learning, Love and marriage, Psychology

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