The last two years have seen a backslide to the progress made towards a more equitable redistribution of care responsibilities in societies worldwide. The pandemic has exposed the need for urgent systemic changes.
Care and its fair distribution are essential components of any new social contract in the post-pandemic world. It needs to foster trust and collaborative relationships between citizens and the State. So far, the fact that women are the main bearers of care activities has been implicit in the social contract. This cannot continue. Care sharing must be an explicitly negotiated issue in households and societies around the globe.
In 1995, the visionary Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action referred to the unequal distribution of unpaid care work between men and women as a critical barrier to gender equality. Most importantly, it called on states to increase data collection of unpaid care work and to design policies that recognize its importance. While some progress has been made in the implementation of time use surveys, innovative solutions are pivotal to make care visible and central to a new social contract, as asked for in the UNSG’s Common Agenda.
This event will bring together experts from the Global South to discuss how women have responded to the challenges of increasing care responsibilities during the pandemic and what innovations have resulted from it. From community-level initiatives, to technological advance, to the reshaping of social norms around care, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of this issue. The panelists will also discuss how the international community can support a more equitable distribution of care responsibilities.