Exchanging Experiences, Expanding Opportunities

Who Cares: Unpaid care work, poverty and women’s human rights

File Created On:
November, 2013

Today ActionAid International, Institute of Development Studies and Oxfam are hosting the UK launch of the UN Special Rapporteur's report on unpaid care and women's human rights.

The report, by UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, will be presented at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in October. The report positions unpaid care work as a major human rights issue. Focusing on women caregivers, particularly those living in poverty, the report argues that heavy and unequal care responsibilities are major barriers to gender equality and to women's equal enjoyment of human rights, and in many cases, condemn women to poverty. This is a landmark report as it is the first to present the links between unpaid care work, poverty and women's human rights to all 193 UN member states.

Unpaid care work underpins all societies, contributing to wellbeing, social development and economic growth. It involves domestic tasks and direct care of people within family homes and local communities. It is estimated that if unpaid care work were assigned a monetary value it would constitute between 10 and 39 per cent of GDP. However, despite considerable research, care is generally unrecognised and under-valued by policy-makers and legislators.

The meeting includes a presentation by UN Special Rapporteur, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, and a discussion of the report's findings with a panel of experts.

ActionAid International, IDS and Oxfam have long played a prominent part in promoting policies to support the empowerment of women and girls. This event forms part of our exciting programmes of current work on this theme.