‘Who Cares’: Reflections on the International-level Advocacy Work of the Unpaid Care Work Programme (2012–2015)IDS Evidence Report, 2015At the end of September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be launched. Building on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were officially established in 2000, the SDGs will potentially have 17 goals – one of which was explicitly absent from the MDGs: the unpaid care work of women and girls. The inclusion of unpaid care work in the final outcome document of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, which was made possible through the collective efforts of researchers, women’s rights organisations, activists and supportive policymakers, reveals just one of the ways in which unpaid care work is increasingly, albeit slowly, being recognised in development discourse, programmes and policies (United Nations General Assembly 2014b). In this Evidence Report we outline the global-level advocacy work undertaken by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and our partner, ActionAid International, over the course of a four-year programme to make care visible.
Redistributing Care Work for Gender Equality and Justice – a Training CurriculumOther, 2015People contribute to the economy through their work in many different ways; such as small-scale trading in the local market or as casual labourers in commercial farms. Others are factory workers, miners, teachers, and domestic workers etc. Through their work women and men contribute to the productive economy by producing goods and services that people use every day. It is this work that is counted and measured by governments. Yet, the work of social reproduction – which refers to the activities needed to ensure the reproduction of the labour force – is not counted. Social reproduction includes activities such as child bearing, rearing, and caring for household members (such as children, the elderly and workers). These tasks are completed mostly by women and girls and support all the activities in the productive economy. Unpaid care work is a component of social reproduction relating specifically to all the activities that go towards caring for people within a household or community. This work is not paid, requires time and energy, and is done out of social obligation and/or love and affection. However, this is an essential component of the economy – care work sustains all other human activity. We know that care is critical in our lives – it has a widespread, long term, positive impact on well-being and development. However, prevalent gender norms – the ways in which women and men are expected to behave – and class inequalities lead to an imbalance in care work with women and girls living in poverty taking on a far greater share of unpaid and paid care work under difficult working conditions.
Unpaid Care Work Programme: Uganda Country Progress Report (2012–2014)IDS Evidence Report, 2015Uganda is one of three focus countries within the Unpaid Care Work (UCW) programme of the Accountable Grant. The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is partnering with ActionAid International (AAI) to help each of the three country programmes involved to develop and implement an advocacy strategy to make unpaid care work more visible in public policy, as well as to integrate unpaid care issues into each country’s programming. IDS’s UCW programme uses an action learning methodology to look at what works and does not work in making the care economy more visible. Further, it aims to track and capture changes in policy and practice in order to improve understanding around the uptake of evidence (i.e. how evidence is being used or ignored, by whom, and with what effects). This report covers the progress of the programme in Uganda over the first two and a half years of the four-year programme. For a programme aimed at influencing national policy, it is critical to understand the political economy context of Uganda.
Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work to Achieve Women’s Economic EmpowermentIDS Policy Briefing, 2015It is widely known that women’s economic empowerment can lead to economic growth. However, it is important to understand women’s economic empowerment as not simply about labour force participation, but also about the choice to work, the choice of sector, location and working hours. This Policy Briefing looks at the interactions between the market and the household and the consequences of unpaid care work on the type, location and nature of paid work that women and girls can undertake, thereby impacting their economic empowerment. Further, it outlines policy actions that can help prevent women from being forced into making choices that have negative social, economic and political outcomes.
Gender-Equitable Public Investment: How Time-Use Surveys Can HelpIDS Policy Briefing, 2014Macroeconomic policy often fails to recognise the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on women, and as a result reinforces both gender and income inequalities. By providing detailed information on how this burden is unequally distributed across gender, class, ethnicity and other socioeconomic characteristics, time-use data can help in guiding more equitable allocations of public resources and promoting government budget priorities that recognise the importance of unpaid work, both for the economy and for human wellbeing.
Country Progress Report (2012-2013): NigeriaIDS Evidence Report, 2013Nigeria is one of four focus countries within the unpaid care work programme of the Accountable Grant. IDS is partnering with ActionAid International (AAI) to help each of the four ActionAid countries to develop and implement an advocacy strategy on making unpaid care work visible in public policy, as well as integrate unpaid care work issues into each country’s programming. The IDS unpaid care work programme uses an action learning methodology to look at what works and what doesn’t in making the care economy visible. Further, it aims to track and capture changes in policy and practice in order to improve understanding around the uptake of evidence (i.e. what ways evidence is being used or ignored, by whom, and with what effects). This report covers the progress of the programme in Nigeria over the first year and a half of the four-year programme.
A Feminist Political Economy Analysis of Public Policies Related to Care: A Thematic ReviewIDS Evidence Report, 2013Unpaid care work is directly linked to the economic empowerment of women and girls. There is a large and robust body of evidence about the extent of unpaid care work that women and girls do, and its contributions to both the economy and human development outcomes. But is this evidence being used to inform public policy? Doing so would include recognising the role of women and girls in the provision of unpaid care; the need to reduce the drudgery of unpaid care; and the need to redistribute unpaid care work (from women to men, and from the family to communities and the state), thus laying the basis for true gender equality. This review of secondary material aims to identify the political economy conditions of where, why, when and how unpaid care concerns become more visible on domestic policy agendas.
The Contribution of Digital Technologies to Service Delivery: An Evidence ReviewIDS Evidence Report, 2017The explosion in digital connectivity, globalisation and the rapid growth in digital technologies over the last two decades has revolutionised the way that businesses perform and compete globally. Governments around the world have been put under strong pressure to transform themselves into electronic governments, in recognition of the efficiencies brought about by the appropriate use of information communication technologies (ICTs) in businesses and the need for development. The aim has been to maximise the state’s capacity to serve its stakeholders: namely citizens, business, employees and other government and non-government agencies. E-government or digital government has been a significant feature of public sector reform in recent years in both developed and developing countries with a substantial amount of resources dedicated to the development of necessary systems and infrastructure. Yet the transformational potential of digital for development risks not being replicated in the real world. Large-scale and sustainable use of ICTs for education is not yet being realised in developing countries, despite the fact that digital technologies have the potential to reduce costs and strengthen education systems. In the field of health care, mHealth systems are reaching significant scale in many developing countries but there is still a lack of concrete evidence with which to fully assess the economic impact of these technologies. This report explores and assesses the evidence for the impact and use of digital technologies in development, identifying cross-cutting themes that are important for use, implementation and scale-up. These include funding and infrastructure, policy commitments by government, skills and leadership.
Connecting Unpaid Care Work and Childhood Development for Gains in Women and Children’s rightsIDS Policy Briefing, 2014Women’s rights and children’s rights directly influence each other, yet there have been few successes at tackling the agendas collaboratively thus limiting the quality of policy and practice in both areas. Integrating unpaid care concerns into early childhood development policies has the potential to positively reinforce both women’s and children’s rights. Addressing this challenge involves recognising the value of unpaid care work in relation to childcare, redistributing childcare responsibilities from women to men, and recognising that responsibility for children goes beyond the immediate family to the collective community and the state.
Towards Gender Equality with Care-sensitive Social ProtectionIDS Policy Briefing, 2014Unpaid care work and social protection are intrinsically linked. Women and girls’ uptake of social protection provisions is affected by their unpaid care work responsibilities. Conversely these essential provisions can help alleviate the drudgery and burden that unpaid care work places upon them. Yet despite the considerable body of research evidence that demonstrates these clear connections, unpaid care work remains largely invisible in social protection policies and programming. In order to address this challenge, policies must recognise the value of women’s work, shift the burden of care work away from women and families and improve access to the vital services that will help improve women and girls’ wellbeing.
The Impact of Digital Technology on Economic Growth and Productivity, and its Implications for Employment and Equality: An Evidence ReviewIDS Evidence Report, 2016As digital technology has begun to ‘eat the world’ it has also influenced the way that humans interact and transact with each other. Thus, it has inevitably had an effect on global, regional, national and local economies. This Evidence Report reviews the literature assessing the economic impact of digital technologies – namely information communication technology (ICT) – on economies and people. In terms of the economic effects of digital technology on economies, this literature review summarises its relationship with economic growth and productivity. Although increases in ICT infrastructure/equipment investment and increased ICT adoption tend to be strongly correlated with economic growth and productivity, causality is yet to be resolved, and the potential for endogenous, simultaneous and reverse causality remains. In other words, there is still the possibility that the economic impacts of the internet are caused by a third variable, that the economic impacts lead to internet adaption at the same time that internet adaption leads to economic impacts, and that it is economic growth that causes internet adaption rather than vice versa. Furthermore, the correlations tend to be highly heterogeneous – different across space and time – suggesting that the relationship is not always given. The review also summarises the literature concerning the effects of digital technology on employment and inequality.
The Contribution of Digital Technology to Citizenship, Accountability and Rights: An Evidence ReviewIDS Evidence Report, 2016The use of digital technologies has risen dramatically in the past century, building excitement among governments and technology experts about applying technology to improve accountability, transparency and the effectiveness of authorities. All 193 member states of the United Nations now have, for example, national websites. Among these, 101 have enabled citizens to create personal online accounts; 73 to file income taxes; and 60 to register a business. For the most common core government administrative systems, 190 member states have automated financial management, 179 have used such systems for customs processing, and 159 for tax management. This readiness is the result of a change in the dynamics of citizenship, accountability and rights (CAR), which demands a rethinking of the roles and relationship between governments and citizens. The use of technology in development, and specifically its potential to close the gap between citizen voice and state responsiveness, holds great promise. Emergent conceptions such as e-governance are considered to have the power to inspire new tools and practices for citizenship, as well as to make existing practices more effective. While the use of digital technologies has made communication with citizens much easier, an increased and empowered citizen participation, by which citizens are able to hold governments accountable, remains still a distant dream. This report is an attempt to see the extent to which digital technologies can enable citizens and state agencies to increase the flow of information, challenge powerful interests, increase levels of institutional responsiveness and protect citizens’ rights, therefore making it imperative to examine the connection between the role of citizen participation in monitoring the enforcement of rights and in demanding public scrutiny and transparency. Furthermore, the questions that this report attempts to answer are: (a) What is the contribution of digital technologies to CAR?; (b) How can the use of technology influence the structuring, restructuring, shaping and reshaping of the relationship between citizens and governments?
The Impact of Digital Technology on Environmental Sustainability and Resilience: An Evidence ReviewIDS Evidence Report, 2016Striving for ‘environmental sustainability and resilience’ (ESR) is postulated as a crucial, universal and global challenge of the twenty-first century. Today, this challenge has to be addressed in a world that is dynamic in its societal, economic and political constituents, heightened by increased interconnectedness resulting from globalisation. From a developing country perspective these issues need to be reconciled alongside developmental priorities, producing ongoing controversies and contradictions. This is further compounded by the fundamental matter of climate change. Undeniably the multitude of dimensions interlinked to achieving ESR are inherently complex and dynamic, inter-related across geographies of scale, space and place. Hence recent academic literature depicts the necessity of a systems-based approach in effectively conceptualising the field in the future. It is proposed that to account for the competing challenges and complexity, radical rethinking and innovation of approaches are required. This standpoint contrasts strongly with conventional development approaches, which predominantly focus on ‘palliative care’. One area from which relevant innovation stems is the digital sector. As this is now firmly what many term the ‘digital age’ or even ‘digital revolution’, there has recently been increasing application of digital technologies in developing country contexts. To date, this innovation has incorporated a spectrum of developmental initiatives, inclusive of those categorised under ESR headings. Inevitably, evidence on the impact of these innovations in practice is key in justifying resources, continuous learning and enabling effective progress. The latest World Development Report, Digital Dividends, explores impact from a development perspective focused largely on increased prosperity and inclusivity through economic growth, social dynamics and public service delivery in developing countries. Similarly, there are examples such as the UK Department for International Development’s recent review exploring the impact of digital technologies across their own development programmes. However, there appears to be relatively limited work to date collating and addressing the existing evaluative evidence specifically from the ESR viewpoint. The evidence that does currently exist on these areas seems to be primarily documented at the individual intervention level. The objective of this report was, therefore, to contribute to this evolving field by exploring and synthesising existing documented evidence. Commonalities and disjoints of successes and failures were drawn from across the findings, to produce a stronger evidence base on the impact of digital innovation in ESR. Impacts were considered alongside the academic theorisations of innovation with particular reference to complexity. This aims to identify emerging themes and gaps to ultimately deduce research-informed policy and to practice relevant lessons moving forward.
Unpaid Care Work Programme: Nepal Progress Report (2012–13)IDS Evidence Report, 2014This report covers the progress of the programme in Nepal over the first year and a half of the four-year programme. For a programme aimed at influencing national policy, it is critical to understand the political economy context of Nepal. A brief note on this context is presented in Section 2. It is also important to acknowledge at the outset that the IDS programme is based on primary research that ActionAid International Nepal conducted as part of the Making Care Visible project initiated by ActionAid International. This report draws in Section 3 on the findings of this research, which included community mobilisation through time diary collection by women belonging to REFLECT circles, to discuss the nature of unpaid care work in Nepal. This section also presents the results of research on mapping relevant policies, specifically social protection, in Nepal, aimed at identifying the gaps and opportunities that confronted AAI Nepal in trying to make unpaid care visible
The Global Importance of Including Mental Health Carers in PolicyIDS Policy Briefing, 2016Globally, there is growing awareness of the need to prioritise mental health as a development issue, with a historic step achieved by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Less understood is the impact that providing care for people who are struggling with mental illness has on those who provide it. Drawing from the experiences of an organisation who works with mental health carers, this briefing highlights the importance of widening the global mental health agenda to include local carers’ voices, greater government investment in mental health with social protection schemes for carers, flexible paid employment arrangements, and innovative mental health care actions.
Redistributing Unpaid Care Work – Why Tax Matters for Women’s RightsIDS Policy Briefing, 2016Globally, women perform the great majority of unpaid care work. This unjust distribution of labour has profound impacts on women’s human rights and is both a product and a driver of gender inequality. Despite the obligations of the State to ensure economic policies are non-discriminatory and prioritise human rights, today regressive tax policies and underfunded public services perpetuate women’s disproportionate responsibility for care. Because tax policies play a crucial role in determining inequalities of all kinds, progressive national tax reforms and improvements in global governance accountability are vital if we are to effect positive change and achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, including the target on unpaid care work.
Engaging Men for Effective Activism against Sexual and Gender-based ViolenceIDS Policy Briefing, 2016Men are becoming ever more visible as integral partners in tackling sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), holding themselves, peers and power-holders accountable for maintaining harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence. To maximise the potential of working with men to ensure inclusion, and sustainability in the response to SGBV, the global programme on Effective Organised Activism against Gender-based Violence highlights the importance of addressing the underlying structural causes of violence. It calls for efforts to address these challenges by applying gendered context and power analysis in understanding and identifying barriers to address SGBV, engaging men in prevention and response not just as ‘protectors’ of women, and building a shared agenda between individuals, communities and networks involving men and women. This approach not only enables a deeper understanding of the complexities around SGBV, but provides important lessons to be shared.