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New report challenges the definition of the ultimate “labor of love”

LatinaLista — Though women are occupying the labor force in unprecedented numbers, and in many cases, are the major breadwinners in their families these days, when it comes to caregiving it’s still seen as a woman’s domain.

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A new report by WIDE, an European network of women’s organizations, titled WE CARE! Feminist responses to the care crises, attempts to redefine the issue of care and caregivers.

Care and care work must be understood – not as pre-requisites to economic growth – but as the centre of human life. This understanding can bring about a political and economic shift in priorities from moneymaking or consuming goods to creating new habits of being and living which are more dignifying and ethical.

Rather than assuming that trade liberalisation, growth and increased income will lead to an improvement in care-giving and human welfare, we must take into account the interconnections between the financial, economic and care crises.

Governments seem more concerned with bailing out banks and boosting economic institutions than investing in improving the State’s capacity to ensure equal access to the provision of care in a way that does not put the burden on women.

We need to analyse the impact of the crises on gender relations, equality and women’s rights, and of state and global policy responses to the crises. And we need to take action so as to stop deregulation policies – especially of financial services – and stop the liberalisation of basic services, such as education, water and health, which will increase women’s unpaid care burden.

As the global community gets older and modern advancements in medicine are enabling people to live longer lives, the care issue is bound to go from being a personal decision to entering the public policy arena in granting the recognition that care is instrumental for the well-being of any society but often goes unappreciated.

“…the United Nations found that, in 1995, if unpaid work was fully accounted for, it would add $23 trillion to total global output.”


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