Redistributing Care Work for Gender Equality and Justice: A training curriculum | Workforce | Poverty

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People contribute to the economy through their work in many different ways. Women and men contribute to the productive economy by producing goods and services that people use every day. It is this work that is counted and measured by governments. Yet the work of social reproduction – which refers to the activities needed to ensure the reproduction of the labour force – is not counted. Unpaid care work is a component of social reproduction relating specifically to all the activities that go towards caring for people within a household or community. This work is not paid, requires time and energy, is done mostly by women and girls, and supports all the activities in the productive economy. Designed for community facilitators working with illiterate or semi-literate groups, this training curriculum is intended for women and men to understand and challenge the conventional view of the economy by putting care for people and the environment first. It unpacks how power can be challenged at the household, community and state levels to recognize, reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care work. It proposes that a collective sharing of the responsibility, costs and work of care among institutions (public, private, communities and households) and among women and men leads to the realization of rights for all.
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  1 Redistributing care work for gender equality and justice – a training curriculum   Redistributing care work for gender equality and justice –a training curriculum June 2015  2 Redistributing care work for gender equality and justice – a training curriculum    Acknowledgements  ActionAid International with the Institute of Development Studies has led the development of the curriculum in collaboration with Oxfam GB. We would like to thank Maria Cascant Sempere for her dedication in writing and piloting this training curriculum in Tanzania and India. We also would like to thank Aanchal Kapur alongside the KRITI team, and Nidhi Tandon for their valuable contributions at different stages of the development of the training curriculum. The training curriculum represents the reections and input from community mobilisers and development practitioners who attended the peer-to-peer training in Arusha, Tanzania in 2013 including Elizabeth Abejide, Hope Basiao-Abella, Birhanu Workneh Cheru, Deepta Chopra, Eze Victoria Ebere, Sunita Gurung, Martin Hojisk, Amirul Islam, Gurjeet Kaur, Thalia Kidder, Yeakob Metena, Rachel Moussié, Khin Khin Mra, Shija Msikula, Zahria Pandao Muti-Mapandi, Jovina Gregory Nawenzake, Golam Fazle Rabbani, Omar Ali Salim, Fatima Muhammad Sani, Mona Sherpa, Fanta Jatta Sowe, Helal Udin and Naomi Wambui. We are grateful for the nancial support from DANIDA and DfID in developing and piloting this training curriculum. Illustration and design by www.NickPurser.com  3 Redistributing care work for gender equality and justice – a training curriculum Introduction   ‘What makes up an economy?’  People contribute to the economy through their work in many different ways; such as small-scale trading in the local market or as casual labourers in commercial farms. Others are factory workers, miners, teachers, and domestic workers etc. Through their work women and men contribute to the productive economy by producing goods and services that people use every day. It is this work that is counted and measured by governments. 1  Yet, the work of social reproduction – which refers to the activities needed to ensure the reproduction of the labour force – is not counted. Social reproduction includes activities such as child bear- ing, rearing, and caring for household members (such as children, the elderly and workers). These tasks are completed mostly by women and girls and support all the activities in the productive economy. Unpaid care work is a component of social reproduction relating specically to all the activities that go towards caring for people within a household or community. This work is not paid, requires time and energy, and is done out of social obligation and/or love and affection. 2  However, this is an essential component of the economy – care work sustains all other human activity. We know that care is critical in our lives – it has a widespread, long term, positive impact on well-being and development. However, prevalent gender norms – the ways in which women and men are expected to behave – and class inequalities lead to an imbalance in care work with women and girls living in poverty taking on a far greater share of unpaid and paid care work under difcult working conditions.  There is also other unpaid work done by women, children and men that is in the productive economy. For instance, smallholder farmers harvest crops and tend to the land in order to produce food for themselves and their communities. This work may not be paid but it contributes to the productive economy. Most governments only measure and monitor paid work, and goods and services sold in markets. Yet just counting paid work in the productive economy does not give us a complete picture, because it ignores all the work done caring for people and the environment. Much of the work that goes into caring for the environment and people is not only not counted, it is not recognised or valued. It is often characterised as ‘women’s work’, making it more invisible and undervalued. Yet, even in the paid labour market paid care work generally earns lower wages than other types of paid work. Women tend to be in the most poorly paid care work as domestic workers and childcare providers. More than half of all employed women worldwide were in informal vulnerable employment and in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia over 80% of all jobs for women are unregulated and precarious work. 3  Gender segregation in the labour market means women often nd themselves in employment that is seen as ‘women’s work’ and is therefore low paid. 1.  The productive economy refers to the market economy where goods and services are produced and exchanged. The productive economy is dependent on social reproduction; therefore, “[the] goal of making women “equal partners with men” in the development process is unlikely to be reached unless policies address women’s participation in both the productive and reproductive spheres.” See Beneria L, Sen G. Class and Gender Inequalities and Women’s Role in Economic Development: Theoretical and Practical Implications . Feminist Studies, Vol 8. No 1 (Spring 1982) 2. UN Women. Progress of the World’s Women 2000: UNIFEM Biennial Report. UN Women, New York, USA, 20003. International Labour Organization (2012) Global employment trends for women http://www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/global-employ - ment-trends/WCMS_195447/lang--en/index.htm  4 Redistributing care work for gender equality and justice – a training curriculum Wealthier households rely on more marginalised women to do the domestic work that allows middle and upper class women and men to engage in paid work. Poorer women are marginalised into low paid care work due to discrimination based on their class, caste, age, ethnicity, and migrant status. The injustice of women’s heavier workloads as they contribute both to the production of goods and services, and social reproduction, leads to chronic poverty and increasing inequality both within and between countries. Migrant domestic workers, nurses and childcare providers, for instance, from low income countries work in high income countries allowing wealthier women and men to work. Women’s labour – both paid and unpaid – is exploited and undervalued in a global system of production and social reproduction. For instance, governments across the world adopt economic policies that undermine the care for people and the environment in part because these parts of the economy are not counted or valued. Encouraged by big corporations, governments support industries that pollute the environment and destroy rural livelihoods that women and men depend on. Governments have made it easier for companies to hire women and men for low wages, long working hours and under poor working conditions by changing labour regulations. They have also made it more difcult for workers to unionise and collectively demand better working conditions and wages. Across the world, governments have adopted policies cutting back spending on public services that could provide better care for people through quality healthcare, education, childcare and social protection provisions. These policies are supported and promoted through the current economic system which privileges a free market system.  Though unpaid and paid care work is essential for our well-being, its unequal distribution across genders and classes can make this work exploitative. In situations of poverty, it is more difcult for women to access the resources and services needed to care for their households. It requires more of their time, energy and can be backbreaking work to collect water and rewood, or care for an ill household member. Though men and boys do participate in unpaid and paid care work, much of this work is done by women and girls. Even after a long day’s work in agricultural elds or on the factory oor, women continue to care for their households once they return home. Around the world, women work longer hours every day than men, but are paid less for work of equal value and are therefore more likely to live in poverty. 4   ‘What’s care work got to do with the human rights?’  Women and girls’ unequal responsibility for social reproduction means that they are unable to enjoy their rights equally to men and boys, for example their rights to an education, decent working conditions, political participation and time for rest and leisure. Further, unpaid care work is often very arduous – and leads to adverse health outcomes, thereby restricting the extent to which women can enjoy a right to good health, or right to social, economic and political participation. Governments have a duty to ensure that all people can enjoy rights equally  , otherwise this is a violation of their rights. Therefore, when governments adopt policies that do not invest enough in the infrastructure and services that facilitate care work, or ignore care for people and the environment, women’s human rights are violated as the primary care providers. On the other hand, if there is not adequate care, or the care provided is not of good quality, the rights of those who require care – children, the sick, the elderly – also suffer. 4. Ibid; Budlender, Deborah. 2008. The Statistical Evidence on Care and Non-Care Work across Six Countries . UNRISD. Gender and Development Programme Paper Number 4 December 2008.
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