Unpaid Care and Women’s Empowerment: Lessons from Research and Practice

By Mary O’Neill, Alejandra Vargas, Deepta Chopra

Providing care — for the young, the old, and the infirm — is a vital but grossly undervalued part of the global economy. While both men and women rely on quality care to enable their participation in economic, political, and social life, most unpaid care is provided by women and girls, leaving them with less time for education, employment, civic engagement, and leisure. According to 2015 UNDP estimates, women perform three times more unpaid care duties than men. Low-income families are particularly impacted by this unequal distribution, as they have less resources to pay for care services, and have less access to services and infrastructure that can help lessen the burden of care.

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