Valuing Unpaid Work and Caregiving
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Archbishop Bernardito Auza began with opening remarks acknowledging that unpaid work and caregiving is receiving much attention because it is a gender-based issue. He emphasized that unpaid care work that involves women is more than just a question of “uncompensated labour.”
There were panellists who offered advice on how to better equip women and build a social structure that better supports women and girls around the world.
Mary Hasson – Washington DC, directs the Catholic Women’s Forum
- In 1995 the Beijing Conference on Women discussed the value of unpaid caregiving.
- Unpaid work must be valued in practical ways and include public services as part of the support system.
- Half of all the labour in the world is unpaid and 76% of that involves women in caregiving.
- If women were paid equivalent to men, the annual GDP would increase by 26%
- When compared to men, women do three times more unpaid work per week.
- For women, care work and caregiving are not a transaction but a relationship.
- Are we able to recognize the dignity and importance of this work?
- Caregiving has value beyond the GDP.
- While we can be replaced in almost every place, the only place we are truly irreplaceable is in our relationships
- The UN has been discussing a framework of Recognition, Reduction, and Redistribution of unpaid care work.
- Government can play a critical role in supporting a woman care work by addressing practical support such as easier access to water and other public services.
Dr. Patience Fielding – Technical Advisor in Education (The Salvation Army)
- Salvation Army World Services Offices (SAWSO) supports the international development office by supporting programs and projects in 60 countries.
- The Salvation Army supports practical and economic support so women can work towards self-sufficiency.
- The idea is to collaborate and not prescribe or dictate so women have the freedom to make decisions.
- There is a needs assessment step that begins every process and every initiative is contextualized.
- Active listening involves extra effort to include women in the hard to reach areas.
- Active listening also involves an invitation to every voice in the community.
- The Strategic planning and training include
- And attitude of “You are the experts, I am here to learn from you.”
- Knowledge and skills that are critical to community-based projects
- Seeking local partners – find people or organizations that do similar work
- Ensuring practical support to women who need the help
- Respecting the dignity of the individual
- Supporting women and girls in their place instead of replacing or displacing them from practical involvement.
Andrea Picciotti-Bayer – Legal Advisor
- The concept of unpaid care work can be confusing.
- The intangible character of accompanying a child on their journey of life cannot be measured in dollars.
- A woman’s contribution to care work is unique and irreplaceable.
- When the social systems can contribute to supporting care giving, it is an opportunity for each member to involved in a cause that is bigger than themselves.
- Care work of mothers requires support from the family, community as well as the government. Even the transportation infrastructure plays a role in this support system.
- 1 in 4 children are being raised without a father with the mother taking on all the burden of providing care.
- 3 out of 10 children live with only one parent.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
- The Salvation Army engages everyday with women who are primary caregivers. It is essential to address the value and dignity of this work in the corps and community context so that there is a greater appreciation for this work. In addition, it will begin conversations and a change in mindsets about how much women contribute to the community and the world.
- A corps can work towards becoming an important part of the supporting structure that equips and encourages women in their choice of care work.