Addressing unpaid care for economic empowerment of women and girls

The focus of the UN Secretary General High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment is on developing concrete policies and actions that have been shown to work and will reach low income, marginalised and disadvantaged women. Through a call for action IDS, IDRC and Oxfam coordinated a joint statement that draws on evidence from programmes and initiatives to show what works in addressing the challenges with regard to the care economy.

IDS, IDRC and Oxfam thank all the respondents for taking the time to submit evidence to the call process and for the insightful and informative submissions that have fed into the position statement and its supporting evidence paper and appendix. You can download them here.

Addressing unpaid care for economic empowerment of women and girls - position statement [download 110 kb .pdf]

Transforming Care Dynamics: Lessons from Programme and Policy Evidence Paper
[download 204 kb .pdf]

Appendix Case Studies [download 700kb .pdf

The evidence call process took place over three weeks from 16 May to 8 June 2016, and received around 50 case studies gathered from researchers, NGOs, women’s networks, worker’s organisations and national movements across a range of geographical regions.

The panel that next meets in July prior to delivering an implementation plan in September 2016, has agreed six priority areas of which addressing the care economy is one.

This is a unique opportunity for those working on the care economy to collaborate on:

  • The recognition and value of care work as a contribution to development and as valuable and skilled activity in the economy
  • An assessment of what we know works to prioritise investment to both reduce the intensity and difficulty of care work and increase the quality of care
  • An assessment of what we know works to shift perceptions, norms and gender roles about care in order to achieve women’s economic empowerment that is optimised, shared across families and sustained across generations

This series of blogs at Oxfam focusing on women's economic empowerment (WEE) and equality with contributors from Oxfam, INGOs, women's organisations and academia coincides with the work of the UN High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment. Gender Policy Advisor, Francesca Rhodes introduces the series.

Collaborative discussion on what works

As part of the call for evidence on care, IDRC, IDS and Oxfam convened two webinars in early June to discuss the scale of the challenge, what progress has been made, and to ask why has it stalled.  

Mona Sherpa (Helvetas), Roselyn Nyatsanza (Oxfam), Subhalakshmi Nandi (UN Women), Jeni Klugman (Research Director – HLP), Mekala Krishnan (McKinsey), Susan Himmelweit (UK Women’s Budget Group), and Karina Batthyany (Universidad de la República) presented.

A broad range of discussion around care issues, such as private sector responsibilities, community engagement, and elderly care was sparked by the webinar presentations. You can view them on YouTube:

Session 1 - Transforming Dynamics in the Care Economy: A collaborative discussion on what works

Session 2 - Transforming Dynamics in the Care Economy: A collaborative discussion on what work

In further collaborative work in preparation for the High Level Panel briefing, the UK Secretary of State for International Development, held a roundtable meeting on May 18th, Bringing a Women's Rights' Perspective to the Table, in which Deepta Chopra participated. The notes can be downloaded here. [Round table summary

Deepta Chopra on how the G7 should address unpaid care