'Care' economy uncharitable to women -Francis Kuriakose & Deepa Iyer
-The Hindu Business Line
Women are burdened with much of the care work, which is generally unregulated and poorly paid. This must change
Care work has been the focus of policy debates after the International Labour Organization (ILO) published a report titled ‘Care Work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work’ in 2018. The ILO observed that care work involves a range of skills that are often not formally recognised or remunerated, and involving working conditions that are not regulated.
Further, care work has an undisputable gender burden with two-thirds of all care workers being women who dedicate themselves to unpaid care work 3.2 times more often than men. The 2019 ILO report ‘A Quantum Leap for Gender Equality’ identified unpaid care work as the biggest impediment to women’s formal employment, as it engaged 21.7 per cent of women between 18-54 years of age, as opposed to 1.7 per cent of men.
Care work and care economy — a system that consists of activities and relationships involved in meeting the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of care — remains an integral but undervalued component of economies all over the world, ensuring the welfare of communities. Care work can be direct or indirect, paid or unpaid, short-term (maternity needs) or long-term (care for the disabled and elderly).
Care work also encompasses a range of sectors such as education, health, and social work involving teachers, nurses, community health workers, social workers, and domestic workers. Care workers perform the important function of providing care through their sustained relational engagement with the care receiver. In particular, unpaid care workers contribute dependable quality care as a “public good” from which communities benefit, without having to pay for it.
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