Caring work makes all other work possible. It is also the fastest growing business sector in the world—It is expected to add 150 million jobs by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of care work. It also revealed how women perform most caregiving work, which is unpaid, low-paid, and/or undervalued. Globally, women and girls contribute more than 70 percent of all global caregiving hours (paid and unpaid) and perform more than 75% of care work is unpaid. The huge amount of unpaid care work that women and girls do It prevents them from earning a paid incomewhich contributes to increasing gender inequality around the world.
The global care economy – paid and unpaid work related to the provision of care such as childcare, elderly care and housework – is a critical sector Promotes economic growth, gender equality and women’s empowerment. The care business is economically valuable but undervalued globally. in the United States of America, Contributions related to the care economy total $648 billion, annually. Globally, if unpaid care workers had a minimum wage, they would add Approximately $11 trillion annually to the global economy.
In a new policy brief, The Global Care Economy, the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative explores The economic and societal value of caregiving workAnd The burden of caregiving on womenand the Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on caregivers. Investing in the paid and unpaid care workforce, creating family-friendly workplaces, and addressing harmful social norms and the physical and mental burdens of caregiving is critical to supporting and valuing care work globally.
In the United States, women, especially women of color, are More likely to work in essential occupations on the front lines Including care work, which puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 illness and death. This is also the case globally, with women and girls making up Two-thirds of the workforce is in paid care.
Unpaid care work presents additional challenges for women. globally, 647 million full-time, unpaid caregivers are not looking for a job Because of their caregiving responsibilities. Most (93 percent) are women. in the United States of America, More than 1 in 5 adults were unpaid family caregivers before the pandemic. right Now , Estimated 43% of adults In the United States, unpaid caregivers.
While there have been some policy interventions to support caregivers in the United States and globally, greater investments are needed to adequately assess and support care work. Investing in the paid and unpaid care workforce can increase household income, a more equitable gender distribution of unpaid care work, and improve working conditions in the paid care sector. To support fathers in the workforce, it is critical to support family-friendly workplaces through flexible leave policies. In addition, policies and programs must address harmful social norms that contribute to the unequal distribution of care work.
This Health and Gender Policy Briefing is made possible by the generous support of EMD Serono, the healthcare company of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
sources: Care Economy Knowledge Center Center for Economic and Policy Research International Labor Organization McKinsey & Company Oxfam International Institute for Political Economy Research The Holding Company Where You Live Matters World Economic Forum
image source: A working mother takes notes while her daughter is sitting on her lap. Drazen Zyjic / Shutterstock.com.