Quick overview of work on unpaid care

  • The unpaid care work (UCW) done mostly by women and girls involves meeting the material, developmental, emotional and spiritual needs of other people through direct personal relationships.
  • Unpaid care work is directly linked to the economic empowerment of women and girls and underpins all development progress. Women’s disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work limits their right to education, health, decent work and leisure.
  • Care continues to be invisible in policies and programmes – both in terms of their aims and their implementation, as a recent thematic review of policies in 144 low- and middle-income countries revealed.
  • Making women’s unpaid care work visible would involve ‘care-sensitive’ policies that:
    • Recognise the value of women’s work by instituting reward systems for women’s contributions and celebrating care as valuable, making it visible amongst communities and governments
    • Reduce the drudgery associated with care work by building roads to schools and health care centres, and establishing water wells, hand pumps and reservoirs closer to homes.
    • Redistribute unpaid care from women to men by encouraging them to share in  household responsibilities
    • Redistribute care work from families to  the state by providing free and good quality childcare centres
    • Represent carers in decision making around public policy programmes by instilling a positive appreciation of care-work amongst women and girls such that they value and self-recognise their contribution
    • Establish effective implementation and monitoring mechanisms that make unpaid care visible by acknowledging the heavy and unequal burdens of care
  • Our work on unpaid care is to:
    • help partners in Nepal, Uganda and Nigeria develop and implement National level advocacy strategies to help make unpaid care work visible in public policy
    • support local partners in Bangladesh and Indonesia research  on influence around  making care visible in public policy and development discourse.