Women have undertaken significantly more domestic chores and family care because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, women have been disproportionately disadvantaged in employment and educational opportunities, and their wellbeing has been negatively impacted more than men’s during the first year of the pandemic.
The key challenge is recognising that care work can no longer not have an economic price tag; without the caring sacrifices made by women during the pandemic, family life, society and the economy would have suffered more. Women will continue to be disadvantaged unless caring is measured economically and rewarded with financial incentives. Acknowledging that the caring economy has an economic price tag because it offers long-term benefits to family life, society and subsequently the economy is key way of changing behavioural attitudes and norms towards the subject of care as it will highlight its significant value– a point recently made by Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England. To do so will enable women to level-up financially and socially with men faster during the COVID-19 recovery period.
This challenge and the opportunity to address it will be critical in the post-COVID-19 recovery period. What financial, social and wellbeing burdens will women face in the long-term if unpaid care work continues to offer them no economic reward?