Investing in Care Key to Boosting Economic Growth

01 November 2019

The need to increase women’s labour market participation and economic security is on the ‘to do’ list of most governments and major global institutions. Global consulting firm McKinsey calculates that global GDP would increase by 26 per cent— US$28 trillion—by 2025 if women participated in paid work to the same extent as men. But if this goal is achieved, who will look after the children, the elderly, the disabled and ill? Although both women and men can care for others, global estimates show that women assume responsibility for around three-quarters of all unpaid domestic and community labour. Tensions between women’s participation in paid work and unpaid care work are especially acute in Asia and the Pacific, where the distribution of unpaid work between men and women is particularly skewed. In this region, women perform more than four times as much unpaid labour as men. Managing this unpaid workload makes it difficult for women to increase participation in paid employment at a level commensurate with their increasing levels of education and training.