Fixing our nation’s care system means putting the needs of our nation’s caregivers first, because a system that lifts them out of cycles of economic instability will help us all. Supporting low-income caregiving workers—whether they’re caring as their job, for their families, or both—lifts up the people they care for, their communities, and the economy at large.
And yet, caregiving has historically been done by unsupported women, women of color, and immigrants for free or poverty wages—which perpetuates the idea that their work, in itself, is less valuable. Though we, as a country, would like to think that we are past systems that are rooted in a legacy of slavery and sexism, we’re still relying on $470 billion
annually in free labor provided by family caregivers, 60 percent of whom are women, while care workers, who are overwhelmingly women of color and immigrants, are powering a $78 billion
industry on an average salary of $15,000. This is the work that makes all other work possible by enabling those workers who are more visible in society to go out into the world every day and do their jobs. But caregivers are doing a job too, and we need a shift in values, a collective investment, and a society-wide solution to recognize and support them.