Gender and Care
Providing care can be both a source of fulfilment and a terrible burden. For women and girls in particular, their socially prescribed role as carers can undermine their rights and limit their opportunities, capabilities and choices - posing a fundamental obstacle to gender equality and well-being. How can we move towards a world in which individuals and society recognise and value the importance of different forms of care, but without reinforcing care work as something that only women can or should do?
This Cutting Edge Pack hopes to inspire thinking on this fundamental question - with an Overview Report outlining why care is important and exploring which approaches offer the best prospects for change, a Supporting Resources Collection providing summaries of key texts, tools, case studies and contacts of organisations in this field, and a Gender and Development In Brief newsletter with three short articles on the theme.
The report discusses why care is such an important issue for development work and social justice activism - especially in the face of ageing populations, the AIDS pandemic, and the growing global market for paid care. Drawing on diverse examples of exciting interventions taking place in countries across the world, it considers which strategies offer the best prospects for change. Three approaches are explored: challenging gender norms to encourage a more equal sharing of unpaid care responsibilities between women and men and a less gender segmented labour market in the care professions; bringing about greater recognition of the huge amount of unpaid care work performed and of the value of this work; and putting in place the social policy measures needed to ensure that care-givers are not disadvantaged because of their unpaid care responsibilities. The final section of the report considers measures to better protect the rights of paid carers - to decent working conditions, minimum wages, basic benefits and protections, and the freedom to form associations and trade unions.
Recommendations from the Overview Report
Among the recommendations made in this report, four are particularly key:
- Care work must be recognised as a core development issue which should be accounted for and addressed in all development interventions in gender-sensitive ways;
- Development policies and programmes must challenge stereotyped assumptions about gender roles, seeking to expand women's and men's choices rather than restricting them to traditional gender roles;
- Initiatives to promote women's economic participation must include an analysis of the interrelationship between paid work and care work; and
- Opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between those working on the full range of care issues from diverse disciplines and perspectives are needed - to build a diverse alliance of people calling for change.
This Supporting Resources Collection show-cases existing work on gender and care. It presents summaries and links to key texts, tools and case studies which provide further information on the main questions addressed in the BRIDGE Gender and Care Overview Report. The collection also provides information on international frameworks and conventions relating to care, and offers snapshots of current thinking and action on gender and care in different regions of the world. Finally, it contains a networking and contacts section which gives details of the organisations featured in the Cutting Edge Pack. Details of how to obtain copies or download the full texts are provided with each summary.
In Brief is a six page newsletter that aims to stimulate thinking on a priority gender theme. This edition focuses on gender and care, starting with an overview and recommendations followed by two distinctive case studies highlighting practical responses to key issues.
This first article highlights innovative ways of challenging gender norms to bring about a more equal sharing of care responsibilities between women and men, and the second article is an inspiring example of home-based carers in Africa coming together to get their priorities heard.