The Unpaid Care Work-Paid Work Connection

Source: Rania Antonopoulos, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, Working Paper no. 541, July 2008

From the summary:
In order to provide a coherent perspective of gender differences in the world of work, the many intersections of paid and unpaid work must be brought to light. It is well documented that gender-based wage differentials and occupational segregation continue to characterize the division of labor among men and women in paid work; yet unpaid work in social reproduction, subsistence production, family businesses, and the community is often ignored. When it is taken into account, it is usually done in a very limited manner, equating unpaid work with the traditional roles women play in raising children and performing maintenance chores. Beyond the obvious gender inequalities characterizing the latter, unpaid work constitutes an integral part of any functioning economy, and as such is linked to economic growth, government policy, migration, and many development issues. This paper concludes that the “world of work” cannot be treated in complete disregard to unpaid forms of labor, and gender equality must be understood through the lens of the paid-unpaid work continuum.

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