Factsheet 5: Care and crisis
Fostering a paradigm shift
SUMMARY: The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced many pre-existing inequalities, and simultaneously made them more visible. The lockdowns brought with them the closure of many care facilities and the requirement to stay at home, which strongly impacted people with caring responsibilities, whether it be for children, elderly people, people with a disability, and/or others. But the situation impacted men and women in different ways, as the gender care gap was exacerbated, and women took up more care work. The gender pay gap likely contributed to this trend: because women tend to earn lower wages and work in part-time jobs more often, they were the most likely to have to give up their paid work within a couple in order to sustain the increased caring duties of a household.
Promote ‘Caring Workplaces’ among Employers
A caring workplace is one that recognises the importance of employees’ work-life balance and inclusive workspaces, as well as the fact that care work is demanding and, as such, should be equally divided within households.
Expand Care Facilities
Governments should provide free and accessible care facilities. These should be nearby in order to reduce the travel burden, which mainly falls on women.
Care Leave Policy
Care leave policies should explicitly remind employers and employees that care should be an equal duty within households, and that this care often disproportionately falls on the shoulders of women, whether they are in a relationship or not.
Paternity Leave Policy
Paternity leave should be as long as maternity leave, and remunerated, compulsory and untransferable.
Make Men’s Care More Visible
Showcasing examples of changes in the values, actions and decisions of men by, for example, highlighting men with a political background involved in gender equality or reversing stereotypical depictions of caring roles.
Approach Care from an Intersectional Perspective
There is a need for an intersectional approach when designing care policies, with a focus on vulnerable groups in relation to care.