Meal prep and cooking. Collecting water. Caring for children. The amount of time spent on chores and caring for others might not always seem like a lot. But eventually, it adds up — especially for women and girls who live in poverty and are from marginalized groups.

This phenomenon is referred to as unpaid care work. Unrecognized and undervalued, this invisible labor becomes mothers’ and daughters’ responsibility. The percentage of men performing it is much lower than the percentage of women carrying out similar tasks.

Unpaid work is essential for households and economies to function, but it's valued less than paid work. Unpaid care and domestic work make a substantial contribution to countries’ economies. The total value of unpaid care and domestic work is estimated to be between 10% and 39% of gross domestic product. It contributes more to the economy than sectors like manufacturing, commerce, or transportation.

But unpaid labor rarely receives as much recognition. Estimates show that 16 billion hours are spent on unpaid care work every day. The International Labor Organization found that if care work was valued the same as other work, it would represent a tenth of the world’s economic output. Some governments depend on unpaid work to compensate for public services, widening the global gender gap further.

3 Key Facts to Know About Unpaid Care Work
  • Around the world, 42% of women can’t secure jobs because they’re responsible for caregiving.
  • Women and girls undertake more than 75% of unpaid care work in the world.
  • In 89% of households, women and girls perform the majority of household chores.

Read the full article about unpaid care work by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.