Mums are worth USD 113k annually
In an annual survey, researchers have attempted to estimate how much the average mother would earn a year if they were actually paid for the work they do.
In 2012, the average stay-at-home mum came in at about 113,000 dollars a year, with a working mum adding about 66,000 dollars to their annual income, Daily Life reported.
Clearly, our whole society chugs along quite nicely on the unpaid labour of women and has for some time. Perhaps it has been this way since the invention of money, but that doesn't make it right.
Inarguably, things have improved for women in the last half century, mothers included. The introduction of the Supporting Mothers Benefit in 1973 could rate as one of the biggest wins for feminism in Australian history.
Mothers being paid for mothering - a fiscal value being placed on what is undeniably a vital and worthy labour, but it has never really been seen this way.
From a sympathetic vantage point, providing 'parenting payment single' is seen as an act of generosity from a caring community; a safety net for abandoned mothers which prevents them and their offspring from slipping irrevocably into poverty.
Or, on the other end of the spectrum, it is seen as an easy route for pregnant teenage dropouts to sit pretty whilst contributing nothing to society for the rest of their sorry lives.
If we leave aside an attempt to put a monetary value on the labour of mothering, we are left with an entirely different set of parameters. Mothers care for children. Children are our next generation. The quality of care they receive is imperative to our future. Does it not seem palpably obvious that the value of mothering is therefore high?
Gillard's strategy to move mothers from parenting payment single to Newstart once their last child turns eight will create an estimated savings of 728 million dollars over four years. Right on target for budget surplus come next election. That the government sees single mothers as the easiest target when it comes to revenue-raising, the least likely spending cut to create a voter backlash, says a lot about our country.
To suppose this budget cut is an equitable solution is to assume that once children have settled into school it is a fair playing field for single mothers in the workforce. Deep down, we all know this isn't true.
And to believe that having older children is less of a burden on mothers is to have very little understanding of the issues at play.
Mothering is work. Women enter into motherhood at great personal cost, yet the contribution of mothers to society is immense, and - let's face it - vital to the continuation of our world as we know it.