‘Of the various forms of inequality in the labour market, women’s unpaid care work is often neglected in the design of policies and economic reforms.’
This is according to an October 2018 report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf). The report, by the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, looks at the impact of economic reforms and austerity measures on women’s human rights.
The report is intended as a building block towards guiding principles to assess economic reform policies from a human rights perspective. It finds that:
- Austerity-driven economic reforms tend to negatively affect women more than men.
- An increasingly disproportionate amount of unpaid care work is falling on women.
- Mainstream economic thinking is failing to take into account the value of domestic and unpaid care work, and the significant contribution this work makes to the economy.
- Austerity policies hit the most vulnerable groups within a given population – women are overrepresented and often the most exposed within these. In addition, these measures exacerbate discrimination and inequality.
- Human rights impact assessments, with a clear focus on gender, should assist in addressing structural barriers.