Redistributing unpaid care and sustaining quality care services: A prerequisite for gender equality

This brief synthesizes research findings, analysis and policy recommendations on redistributing unpaid care and sustaining quality care services, and was produced for UN Women’s policy brief series.

The centrality of care to sustainable development and its relevance for gender equality are now widely recognized by the global community. In “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”—also referred to as “Agenda 2030”—unpaid care appears as one of the targets under Sustainable Development Goal 5 (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”), and policy actors are increasingly recognizing it as a critical issue for sustainable development.

Given the consensus on the importance of care—and references to its recognition, reduction and redistribution—this brief delves into key policy issues and dilemmas about how to reduce the drudgery of unpaid care and domestic work, as well as redistributing it more equally between women and men, and between families and the broader society. It aims to bridge the gap between the emerging consensus on the importance of care and the not-so-clear policy options for supporting care without reinforcing it as an exclusively female domain.

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