Exacerbated burdens of unpaid work

Impact on women and gender equality

Exacerbated burdens of unpaid work

National economies depend on women’s care work. In the United States alone, before the COVID-19 pandemic, unpaid care was valued at 3.2 trillion dollars, or 20% of the GDP. Around the world, The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated women’s unpaid care labor, as more children, elderly, and other community members became dependent on their care.

In South Africa, the burden of unpaid work on women has increased during the pandemic, in particular due to school closures. A woman activist shares, “I’m a single mother of two, and I adopted another child. Children were not going to school and we were working from home, so I had to balance between work and home responsibilities, and this caused mental health problems. The COVID-19 has increased the care burden of women. Two of my colleagues were hospitalized because of mental health problems; these are the stressors caused by the lockdown.”

Yet, contributions of unpaid care in national economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and addressing the increased unpaid care burden on women has not been prioritized in COVID-19 economic recovery strategies.

Explore the data in the dashboard to learn more.