1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Shahra Razavi and Silke Staab from UNRISD presented a background paper at the Expert Group Meeting in preparation of the 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women

9 Oct 2008



Shahra Razavi and Silke Staab from UNRISD presented a background paper at the Expert Group Meeting held on 6-9 October 2008 in preparation for the 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The 53rd session will take place in March 2009 with an emphasis on “Equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS”.

The paper titled “The Social and Political Economy of Care: Contesting Gender and Class Inequalities” focusses on the arena of care and the role of women. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which frame global efforts at poverty reduction in developing countries, do not specifically mention care. Yet the achievement of many of the MDGs - whether universal primary education, the reduction of child mortality, or combating HIV/AIDS - is highly dependent on the provision of paid and unpaid care. Traditionally, care is structured by relationships of kinship and community. However, care work remains strongly feminized and for the most part undervalued. With more women participating in the formal labour force, the time allocated to unpaid care work has been curtailed. In addition, regional differences in infrastructure and technology impact the time and effort allocated for care.

Razavi and Staab present different policy responses both for care-recipients and care-givers, on the background of the inequalities of providing care both between the genders and between the household and society alike.