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Statement on International Care Day / Campaign: When, if not now!

May 12th is International Nursing Day, and the Campaign When, if not now! the Federal Association of Municipal Women's Offices and Equal Opportunities Offices draws our attention: we have to push for changes! The state must do more for the health system and the nursing and health professions.

Without a doubt, the International Day of Nursing is inevitably relevant to this as well as last year. Women * are at the forefront of fighting the pandemic: 80% of workers in the German health and social sector are female, at the same time, jobs in these areas are among the worst-paid jobs on average. In addition, migrant and refugee women * or their descendants, who are read as such and experience racial discrimination in Germany, are overrepresented in the care industry - and earn an average of 20% less than non-migrant or non-refugee women *.

The care industry is particularly affected by the corona pandemic. At the beginning there was a lot of applause, numerous people stood on their balconies and at the windows in the evening and thanked the nursing staff with applause. But what about applause for other systemically important workers who do essential and systemic work in the health sector? For example, there are also cleaning staff - often underpaid, not valued and stigmatized due to their work - who deserve this applause, but above all financial security and recognition. This precarious work is also mainly done by migrant and refugee women *.

DaMigra sees a great need for comprehensive changes, especially in view of the increasing need for trained specialists and the nursing emergency in Germany. In addition, there is the increasing feminization of migration, coupled with the German externalization of care activities and the expansion of global care chains. These connections underline the urgent need for social and political changes, especially with regard to safeguarding economic justice and safeguarding rights for migrant and refugee women *.

The ongoing German nursing care crisis cannot be separated from migration, and the structures of the current health system reproduce gender-specific inequalities in nursing and care work and outsource economic injustices to the global level.

DaMigra calls for the following changes in this regard:

  • The recognition of foreign educational qualifications and professional qualifications, especially with regard to migrant or refugee women *.
  • In order to sustainably integrate qualified nursing staff already available in Germany, institutional and bureaucratic hurdles must be systematically dismantled and access to the labor market facilitated. This also includes the awareness that not all migrant or refugee women * are unequivocally and inevitably active or want to be active in the care sector.
  • An abolition of the residence requirement: This prevents migrants or refugees from gaining access to the nationwide labor market. Qualified people should be included, also in the care and health sector.
  • Nursing professions need a general upgrade - they have to be upgraded financially as well as socially, societal awareness of the relevance of care must be increased and the health system must undergo changes. This upgrading would not only strengthen the quality of German nursing and health care in the long term, it would also be an important step towards breaking global care chains, which function on the basis of global economic and social inequalities, and thus achieving economic justice and rights on a global level and for to strengthen all women * sustainably.



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