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A couple in Rwanda working together on Unpaid Care Work. PHOTO: ANATOLE UWIRAGIYE/ACTIONAID

Unpaid Care Work

For most women, time spent on Unpaid Care Work is disproportionately high compared to men. The burden of Unpaid Care Work affects all women but has the worst effects on women in poverty. Girls and women spend long hours fetching water, collecting firewood, doing laundry, preparing food, caring for children and elderly, and other household chores, as well as often carrying out agricultural duties. This time poverty limits women’s opportunity to increase sustainable productivity and better access markets; to know how to claim their rights; and to participate in decision making. Unpaid Care Work is recognised in the Sustainable Development Goals but often not at community or national government levels.

Action
The POWER project is working to ensure the recognition, redistribution and reduction of Unpaid Care Work. It is sensitising women, men and boys about the time spent on Unpaid Care Work, addressing cultural norms; and engaging with policy and decision makers for increased focus and funding. It is also testing and scaling up interventions to reduce the time spent on Unpaid Care Work eg energy saving stoves and community childcare.

Plants provision to women right holders Pakistan. PHOTO: MS BEENISH RIAZ/SAIBAAN DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION

Voices from the community

  • Lucky Begum (36) is selling vegetables from her homestead garden to gain income for herself and her family.  Lucky is chairperson of the women's group in Gaibandha district in Bangladesh and her experience is included in a longer case study on recognising and redistributing Unpaid Care Work in... Read More
  • Mukakibibi Thamar, 51, explains how provision of a water tank at her home in Karongi district, Rwanda, has affected her. “This tank has saved me and the children a lot of time which we were using to go to the well,” Thamar, a widow with seven young sons... Read More
  • A ‘Rights Analysis’ by a women’s group in Ghana indicated how women in rural communities in particular areas are overburdened... Read More
  • Amraizan Bibi, 46, is from a village in Mansehra district, Pakistan. She is a widow and has three daughters, two... Read More
  • Rekha, 44, cares for her husband who is not well, in addition to all other household duties. Frequent severe flooding... Read More

Webinars

BOOSTING RESILIENCE: The relationship between climate change, agroecology and unpaid care work

This webinar was the fourth in the POWER project international webinar series. It explored the theme of enhancing resilient livelihoods for women farmers, by examining the effects of climate change, the benefits of agroecology and how these intersect with women’s unpaid care work. Read More…

Transforming Unpaid Care Work through Redistribution

This webinar was the third of the POWER project international webinar series. It explored the theme of redistribution of Unpaid Care Work – what this meaningfully looks like, its significance on women’s economic empowerment, how to effectively measure trends and the roles of governments in facilitating. Read More…

Unpaid Care Work and Violence Against Women webinar

This webinar was the first of the POWER project international webinar series. It looks at how Unpaid Care is linked to Violence Against Women. Can addressing Unpaid Care Work lead to a reduction in Violence Against Women? Or can attempts to recognise, reduce and redistribute Unpaid Care Work actually be seen as a justifcation for Violence Against Women? Over 40 participants heard presentations on work being done in this area at both ActionAid and Oxfam and then had a chance to input their own experiences and challenges. Read More…

CRSA and Unpaid Care Work webinar

This webinar was the second of the POWER project international webinar series. It looked at the links between Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture and Unpaid Care Work. Violence Against Women as a crosscutting issue was also considered. We heard staff and members of women’s groups talking of experiences from POWER project work in Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as an overview of CRSA and Women’s Rights and experiences of taking related issues to a policy level. We also had input from South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). There were over 50 participants from a variety of countries: from ActionAid, implementing partners and other organisations eg FAO, Oxfam and UN Women.

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Unpaid Care Work policy brief: online launch

This webinar was to launch the POWER project policy brief: ‘Incorporation of Women’s Economic Empowerment and Unpaid Care Work into regional policies (Africa)’.

This brief provides an analysis of current policies and practices across Africa that relate to rural women’s economic empowerment and, in particular, the inclusion of the issue of Unpaid Care Work. It considers the successes and the gaps and identifies opportunities for improvement.

About 30 participants attended the launch to hear the key recommendations and more detail of the advocacy work being done at local, national and regional level.  Those attending also had the opportunity to input their own experiences and challenges.  Participants also considered ways of working together to ensure better incorporation of issues around Unpaid Care Work into national and regional policies..

Read More…

Resources

Policy brief

Resources

Policy brief: Incorporation of Women's Economic Empowerment and Unpaid Care Work into regional policies (South Asia)

This brief provides an analysis of current policies and practices in South Asia that relate to rural women's economic empowerment and, in particular, the inclusion of the issue of Unpaid Care Work. It considers the successes and the gaps and identifies opportunities for improvement.

Policy brief: Incorporation of Women's Economic Empowerment and Unpaid Care Work into regional policies (Africa)

This brief provides an analysis of current policies and practices across Africa that relate to rural women's economic empowerment and, in particular, the inclusion of the issue of Unpaid Care Work. It considers the successes and the gaps and identifies opportunities for improvement.

Time Diary

The POWER project uses the time diary tool to raise awareness of Unpaid Care Work and as a monitoring tool. It is used with both women and men. This generic time diary is often adapted to the local context or language.

Find out more about ActionAid’s approach to
Unpaid Care Work in general here