Promoting women’s economic empowerment: Recognizing and investing in the care economy

Authors/editor(s): Ipek Ilkkaracan

Care work is a crucial element for human well-being as well as an essential component for a vibrant, sustainable economy with a productive labour force. Care work ensures the complex and life-sustaining web on which our very existence depends. Women shoulder a disproportionate share of unpaid work around the world, and gender imbalances in the distribution of care work constitute a root cause of women’s economic and social disempowerment.

This paper aims to identify the policy and programmatic entry points and the key tools involved in transforming the care economy so as to promote gender equality, human development, and inclusive and sustainable growth. The proposed framework for action is organized around interventions targeting the recognition, reduction, and redistribution of unpaid care work, and promotes multiple development objectives, going beyond Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 (gender equality) to also address SDG 1 (ending all poverty), SDG 3 (healthy lives and promotion of well-being for all at all ages), SDG 4 (inclusive and quality education for all), SDG 8 (creation of decent employment for all and promoting inclusive growth), and SDG 10 (reduction of inequalities).

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Languages available: English

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Bibliographic information

Subject area(s): 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Economic empowerment; Employment; Macroeconomic policies; Poverty; Social protection; Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Unpaid work

Resource type: Issue papers

UN Women office involved in publication: UN Women Headquarters

Publication year: 2018

Number of pages: 58

Publishing entities: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)