Day Care and Other Services
There will not be true liberation for women until there is a network of cafeterias, laundromats, day care centers and, schools that help to alleviate . . . domatic tasks.
Cuban journalist ( 1962) 1
It is impossible to construct the required thousands of children's day nurseries, school dining halls, laundries, worker's dining halls, and boarding schools in four years. In fact, merely to meet present needs, great effort is necessary on all fronts.
Fidel Castro ( 1966)2
If you asked the Ministry of Construction to build one day care center in Guanabacoa, one single day care center, why they practically fainted!
Fidel Castro ( 1987) 3
A fundamental problem with male-directed social movements is that their leaders rarely think about who is going to do the dishes. That is, they typically ignore the economic value of domestic labor, of "women's work." Marxist theory shares this tendency by focusing on public "production" while the home, the realm of women, remains invisible. When domestic work is viewed as having no economic value, there is little incentive to alleviate women's double shift.
Although the Cuban revolution displayed an early willingness to provide certain services such as day care, government planners had little understanding of the scope or relevance of the work women do in the home. They viewed housewives as idlers and dreamed of putting their "unutilized" labor to good use in real jobs. But as women went to work, they had less time for cooking, cleaning, shopping, and caring for children. It soon became clear that if the state wanted women to work outside the home, then it would have to institutionalize what Marxists called