We are working with our partners Action Aid, OxfamGB, the BRAC Development Institute (BDI) and SMERU to support strategies to integrate unpaid care into country programmes. Together we are undertaking action research, using a political economy lens to look at care, and focusing on the following areas:
- Common narratives around gender, women and care
- The actors, champions and groups relevant to decisions and policies on care
- The country, historical and institutional context
- Political processes and windows of opportunity
- Interactions of power determining the visibility and invisibility of care
Action Aid was one of the first international NGOs to have explicitly included a focus on unpaid care and women’s rights in its programming and policy advocacy. With Action Aid, workshops have been held in Kenya, Nepal and Nigeria, where participants mapped out what the main issues are, who the stakeholders are, who holds the power, and develop a future strategy to make care more visible. In each country the focus of this policy engagement is different; for example during the first workshop in Nigeria, early childhood development came out as the key priority policy area to focus on. An advocacy strategy is being developed, and Action Aid Nigeria will subsequently go on to implement the strategy, working closely with us to chart and reflect on learning.
Oxfam’s work on care aims to find solutions to the challenge of providing effective care whilst also ensuring women's rights. Oxfam’s WE-Care (Women's Economic Empowerment and Care) initiative aims to make care work more visible and address it as a factor influencing gender equality. The initiative helped improve the design and impact of selected programme interventions to address care work.
With BDI, workshops have been held in Bangladesh where participants have been discussing the national context for unpaid care work, and developing strategies to advocate for the integration of care issues into national policy.
SMERU held workshops in Indonesia, where participants discussed the constraints and opportunity windows in relation to policy influence around care.
In Bangladesh and Indonesia, efforts continue to engage national statistical agencies to take unpaid care work into account in their household survey design and overall statistical data collection strategy. Our work also involves activities to challenge stereotypes and embed recognition of care in public policy and development discourse through the use of audio-visual strategies, such as a photograph exhibition on men performing unpaid care work.
Unpaid care workshops
Making care visible through media engagement
As part of their advocacy strategy to make care visible, ActionAid Uganda (AAU) have used media platforms, such as newspapers and radio and television adverts or talk shows. The aim of their media engagement is to reach out to the public (women, their husbands and community members) and key stakeholders in order to recognise women’s unpaid care work and change attitude towards ending the harmful traditional practices of stereotyping unpaid care work as women’s work.
Through their media engagement, AAU have conducted 2 radio talk shows and aired 10 spot adverts, in both English and Luganda, on local radio stations. They have also produced a number of posters, which depict women’s daily workload (recognising the multiple tasks they undertake), but also promote the key messages of the programme which is to recognise care and care work; reduce difficult, inefficient tasks; and redistribute care from women to men and poor families to the State.
On the importance of using media to give the UCW programme greater visibility an AAU staff member said:
“It is interesting to note that the public, the women tend to notice. When they see an advertisement or hear an audio spot message, it is like finally someone is doing something about the issue and they notice it and feel something needs to be done ... feedback you get from people shows you are making a change.” (October 2014)