Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy

While women were already doing most of the world’s unpaid care work prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging research suggests that the crisis and its subsequent shutdown response have resulted in a dramatic increase in this burden. It is likely that the negative impacts for women and families will last for years without proactive interventions. What we commonly refer to as “the economy” would not function without the (often unrecognized) foundation of work provided by the “care economy”: the reproduction of everyday life through cooking, raising children, and so forth. The paid economy has slowed not only because people are physically not allowed into workplaces, but also because many families currently need to raise and educate their children without institutional support, which is reducing remunerated working hours and increasing stress. It has long been recognized that gross domestic product ignores the care economy and heterodox economists have promoted alternative economic systems that could value care work and facilitate a fairer sharing of domestic labor while promoting environmental and economic sustainability. This policy brief builds on recent work on the care economy to explore implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities for addressing the burden of unpaid care work. development, namely electrification and synthetic fuels; and (iii) is still likely to require appropriation of a substantial, albeit hopefully sustainable, fraction of the world’s forest area.

This article is also available for download in Spanish.

 

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