Bill the Patriarchy is a tool to help women calculate the value of work done at home. Whether it's cleaning, child care, cooking, emotional labor, household management or driving it all takes time and that time is worth something.  Determine how much you would make if that work was accounted for and receive an itemized invoice for your records. 

It all started when…

Patti Maciesz, an artist and new mother, began tracking her son’s daily activity and painting the results after being inspired by the Women’s March.

“After my son was born I felt like I was disappearing from public life.  I wanted to stay visible and to show that I was working, and that my work being a caretaker had value. I know what my son has been doing 24 hours a day since he was born.” Since she began, and not counting time asleep or Sundays, Maciesz has calculated that she’s spent 5,616 hours providing child care. If paid at the Oakland minimum wage of $13.23, that’s $74,299.68.

Mothers do a lot of invisible work. I created the Bill the Patriarchy website to help other women quantify their own value, too.  In America, the way we attribute value to things is with money, so I wanted to imagine what it would be like if we demanded fair payment for that work. In a way, it's leaning into motherhood. I’m asking for a raise for all full time caregivers. I’d like us to go from nothing, to something.”

So Maciesz began faxing her invoices and timesheets to local and state officials in California as well as the federal government for her unpaid child care wages with a plea for universal child care.  Her painted fax cover letters are addressed to the Patriarchy ℅ various government organizations. As line items in the invoices, she includes hours spent on housework and the opportunity cost of staying at home. So far she’s sent over 1000 faxes—every US Senator with a fax machine has received one.

“I know that I am very privileged to be able to stay home with my son and I love being with him. But for many women, especially women of color who are often the sole breadwinners, that's not on the table. [1] What if, like every other advanced economy, we valued parenting and provided universal child care and subsidies for parents who actually do want to stay at home. [2]”

Recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren said “Without child care, I was a goner,” and called for Universal Child Care to be in the federal budget. [3]

Until that happens, Maciesz has made the time sheets and invoice paintings available for sale on on her website. The cost of each pay period is determined by the amount of hours Maciesz spent on child care during that time and on the minimum wage.

[1] Analyzing the data within racial and ethnic groups shows that among white families, white women are the least likely to be breadwinners for their families when compared with their black or Latina peers. Black mothers are by far the most likely to be the primary economic support for their families, both because they are more likely to be single mothers and because they are more likely—when part of a married couple—to earn as much as or more than their husbands. [Source: Center for American Progress]

[2] The United States is the only advanced economy without any state sponsored parental leave. [Source:Pew Research Center} According to researchers Bridget Ansel and Matthew Markezich from the Washington Center Of Equitable Growth, The United States ranks 30th out of 33 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in public spending on families and children, which includes policies such as child payments and allowances, parental leave benefits, and child care support. 

[3]"Many moms have a child care story that sounds a lot like mine. Juggling a growing family & holding a teaching job was tough as nails. Without child care, I was a goner. That’s why I’m fighting for universal child care in our end-of-year budget." [Source: Elizabeth Warren on Twitter]