Women’s economic empowerment and care: evidence for influencing

Women’s economic empowerment and care: evidence for influencing

Care responsibilities is being increasingly identified as a factor restricting women’s empowerment outcomes, yet there is limited evidence on determinants of long hours or gender inequality in care work. To gain a clearer understanding of care work and pathways of change to promote more equitable care provision, Oxfam conducted a Household Care Survey in communities of rural Colombia, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Results highlight that gender inequality exists in all measures of care work, with women and girls doing significantly more primary and secondary care activities, and supervision of dependants, than men and boys. Key findings are presented in time use and work hours, and determinants of patterns of care work. In all countries, the research found that women have longer total hours of work than men, men spend more time on paid work than women, and women have longer hours of care work. The determinants of care are context-specific. Education and relative household wealth are less relevant as determinants of length, intensity or inequality in care hours than might be expected. Women’s paid/productive activities and access to labour-saving stoves and improved water systems are sometimes associated with decreases in women’s hours of care work. 

Adapted from authors’ summary.

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