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The World Needs Wives - Zoe Lee

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This is an entry in The Future We Deserve - a collaborative book project about the future. See all the entries or talk about this entry.



Men have made a mess of the world. They don't care for the world in the same way they don't care for their families. They just assume someone else will take care of the messy chores.

While women of the minority world can now participate in the men's world, the majority of men continue to avoid the women's world of being available to soothe hurts, feed endless appetites, make the bed, clean the floor and otherwise work to provide a safe, secure, healthy environment for those who can't provide for themselves. "Women's work" is hugely unpopular, unrecognised and largely unpaid. When we do pay someone to do it, they don't do as good a job, they don't care for your home, your children or your dear demented mother the way a good wife/mother/daughter would.

Institutions fail because money can't buy the care traditionally given by a wife or mother. The dependent – the disabled, the chronically ill, the young, the elderly, the environment – all need personal relationships with people who ensure they are able to live to their fullest potential, provided with support when needed. These relationships take time, commitment, appreciation and empathy – the kind of love that accepts and honours intrinsic values; the antithesis of the abuse and neglect that institutions and "individual independence" produces.

Traditional societies work because they prevent women from participating in society in any function other than wife or mother. This ensures an adequate supply of devoted carers while depriving society of the talents of half its population. In the minority world, we have population decrease because, given the opportunity of participating in a man's role, many women avoid fulltime caring for the family. It is ironic that we pay people to nurse, teach, organise our lives but those who do the same job unpaid don't feel valued.

We should pay "professional wives" (regardless of gender) to care and educate; they are given the task of keeping track of their family, ensuring they are living healthy, safe, productive lives engaged in education, their communities, and democracy. These wives will also be advocates, responsible for the legal and financial blunders their charges get into. Wives would be paid per head, with additional provision for food, board and live-in care if needed. They have a maximum number they can care for with minimum contact hours per week for each member of their family up to 40 hours employment per week. They will have qualifications, professional codes of ethics, compulsory health and safety standards, best practice syntheses, minimum holidays, sick leave, employment contracts, complaint procedures, bonuses, (perks ?), monthly reports, quarterly reviews, annual plans, professional development and a supervisor.

Forget obesity campaigns – give the wives clear guidelines of the expected individual weight targets as part of their performance criteria.

Everyone who wants to be looked after by the government will be told to get a wife who will manage the beneficiary's affairs professionally and apply for monetary support on their behalf. Getting a wife would be like finding a midwife or doctor – finding someone whose manner suits but whose professionalism is to be assumed. Currently, at least sixty percent of the tax dollar pays for health, education or social security (including pensions). It's ineffective and inefficient – people are not staying healthy or making educated choices and they are expecting the government to rescue them when things go wrong. If you don't want a wife, you can become one. But with responsibility comes accountability.

Wives integrate lives, co-ordinate community and build resilience by maintaining webs of relationships enabling everyone to pursue their passions and fulfill their responsibilities.

The future will be what we deserve when men become wives because that's when we'll know wives are valued.