New research by Oxfam and partners reveals that while COVID-19 and the related containment efforts have caused increases in women’s – and men’s – unpaid care workloads, women are still doing the bulk of this work. Care work is essential to the healthy functioning of our societies and economies. It must be at the heart of a feminist COVID-19 recovery.
Economic inequality is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world. This has to change.
Women and girls work incredibly hard to care for others. Not only is this work unpaid, but it's often not seen as real work at all. If we valued care work the same as other work, it would be worth nearly $11 trillion US dollars a year. But its true value is much greater. To fight inequality and beat poverty, we must make care count.
Women’s economic empowerment could reduce poverty for everyone. In order to achieve it, we need to first fix the current broken economic model which is undermining gender equality and causing extreme economic inequality.