Every day the gap between rich and poor is widening which if ignored will create more economic burden on the poor especially women and girls. Tending to others, cooking, cleaning, fetching water and firewood are essential daily tasks for the wellbeing of societies, communities and the functioning of the economy.
The heavy and unequal responsibility of care work perpetuates gender and economic inequalities. Never have we faced such an opportunity for welcoming and valuing the work of millions of care workers in the mainstream economy, be it formal or informal. The government of Pakistan must act now to build a human economy that is feminist and values what truly matters to society.
Women do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work. They often have to work reduced hours or drop out of the workforce because of their care workload. Across the globe, 42 percent of women cannot get jobs because they are responsible for all the care giving, compared to just six percent of men. Women also make up two-thirds of the paid ‘care workforce’. Jobs such as nursery workers, domestic workers, and care assistants are often poorly paid, provide scant benefits, impose irregular hours, and can take a physical and emotional toll.
A latest report shows economies are fuelling the inequality crisis enabling wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls. The report shows governments are massively under-taxing the wealthiest individuals and corporations and underfunding vital public services and infrastructure that could help reduce women and girls’ workload. For example, investments in water and sanitation, education, childcare, healthcare could free up women’s time and improve their quality of life.
If women do not have access to affordable care services, they have to shoulder the care responsibilities of the family and either reduce their number of work hours and thus income or entrust the elder children with this responsibility –thereby compromising their education. Poor women workers do not only contribute to their family and national economy, but also to natural ecology.