Enabling Women’s Economic Empowerment

New Approaches to Unpaid Care Work in Developing Countries

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Women’s unequal share of unpaid care work can prevent their full participation in the economies of developing countries; however, care needs are growing globally. How can governments and development partners meet the needs of families and communities, while ensuring that all citizens benefit from economic opportunities and fair remuneration? As part of the OECD Policy Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment, this report focuses on identifying what works to address unpaid care work and sheds light on how governments, donors in the private sector and civil society actors – among others – can design policies to support both those who need care and those who provide care. The report brings together existing knowledge of policy options for unpaid care work across regions, in four policy areas: infrastructure, social protection, public services and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household.


Financing options to address women’s unpaid care work

This chapter provides a brief overview of financing options to alleviate women’s unpaid care work burden, focusing on investments in infrastructure, social protection and public services. It begins with reporting on comparative spending commitments to promote gender equality via four infrastructure sectors. It then describes options for financing social protection (highlighting the effectiveness of mixing contributory and non‑contributory systems) and financing public service (with full public funding of care services viewed through the criteria of affordability and acceptability). Evidence is also presented on childcare provision, which covers the whole range of financing options. Mention is made of the importance of donors for health services in low-income countries, with newer sources of funds delivered through individual interventions (involving e.g. foundations and pro bono work by medical professionals). The chapter concludes by examining the funding dynamics of NGOs, which run the majority of programmes focused solely on promoting shared responsibility within the household.


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