What's in a skill?

But isn't childcare skilled labor?

In some trivial sense, all work is skilled. Walking is a skill that takes years to master. So is carrying items from point a to point b. But when the majority of the population has your skills, we do not refer to the employment of them as "skilled labor".

Childcare is hard. I would far rather do almost anything else than care for someone's baby full time (I am told I will probably feel differently about my own, in the event that any arrive). That doesn't make it skilled. Cleaning houses is also incredibly difficult. But assuming that one has had a semi-normal upbringing, one can master the tasks involved in well under a week. After that, the main skill is not jumping off a bridge on the walk home.

There is a lot of talk about the way that traditionally "women's" professions are devauled, and I think that there is something to that, but those women's professions also have odd characteristics--like flexibility in hours, and the ability to take long periods of time off without suffering much of a wage setback--that make direct comparisons somewhat more difficult than most people quoting those statistics take into account. We can have a long, elegant discussion about whether all professions should offer such perks, but the fact remains that those benefits have economic value, and you have to pay for them by accepting something less elsewhere.