The relation between women in business and unpaid care work

Women spend two to ten times more on unpaid care work than men. This may result in enhanced gender gaps in labour outcomes e.g. in terms of participation, wages and job quality due to additional work. This additional work consists of i.e. cooking, cleaning, childcare and more. Unpaid care work puts an emotional and physical stain on the caretaker, making a sole focus on the job and career less accessible.

Gender norms and stereotypes distribute responsibilities in many households clearly. The OECD report “Unpaid Care Work: The missing link in the analysis of gender gaps in labour outcomes” states that “Across all regions of the world, women spend on average between three and six hours on unpaid care activities, while men spend between half an hour and two hours.“. Even reducing the hours spent on care work means that women can partake in their careers more easily. The report also presents that “In countries where women spend an average of five hours on unpaid care activities, 50% of women in the working age-population are active, i.e. employed or looking for a job. However, in countries where women spend three hours on unpaid care work, 60% of women are active in the labour force.”.

Traditional roles must be tackled, men and women in traditional partnerships or households have to take equal responsibility in care work if women are supposed to have fair chances in careers. Solutions to this problem can be education for all genders at any age, early childhood education and including young boys in household chores. It could also mean to increase access to public services such as childcare or care for elderly and longer day-care hours for children. Additionally, expanding maternity leave, making it more likely for women to stay in their job, or creating equal lengths of maternity and paternity leave or creating more flexible schedules for family-friendly working conditions contribute to fair chances.

What is your opinion on the relation between women in business and unpaid care work?

Marie Kiel


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