The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and United Nations Women warned on Wednesday that the economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic must prioritize women in care roles.
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In a joint report, the organizations explain that the current distribution of the responsibilities of care work is unequal and carried out mostly by women as unpaid work. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the centrality of care.
According to the report in Latin America and the Caribbean, since before the pandemic, women have dedicated three times the number of hours as men to unpaid work. Furthermore, the rising demand for care and the reduced supply of services caused by the social distancing and lockdown measures put women at the center of the socioeconomic crisis.
"The overload of care work limits women's opportunities and the enjoyment of their rights. An effective #COVID Response ー 19 must include measures to Recognize, Reduce, and Redistribute care work."
The organizations highlighted that "just over half of the 126 million women in the female
the labor force in Latin America works in informal conditions, which often involve job instability, low pay, and a lack of protection and rights."
In this sense, governments are urged to focus on the investment in social care infrastructure and the creation of an economy of services, regarding care services, which will boost local economies through direct job creation and improved family incomes.
Moreover, ECLAC and UNWomen recommend expanding the protection of people who carry out care work both in a paid and unpaid capacity; to prioritize access to food and essential services to alleviate domestic work and the burden of unpaid care work; to guarantee that care services are considered a priority, and ensure that those working in these services can carry out their work in a safe way.