Unpaid care work is seen as a female responsibility across all regions of the world. Women spend on average between three (3) and six (6) hours on unpaid care work activities, while men spend between half (1/2) an hour and two (2) hours according to the OECD (OECD Development Centre, December 2014. Gaëlle Ferrant, Luca Maria Pesando and Keiko Nowacka). Therefore, gender inequalities in unpaid care work are observed all around the world, even if there are regional variations. Overall, women spend more time on unpaid care activities than men representing an average of two to ten times that of men.
Unpaid care work is both an important aspect of economic activity and an indispensable factor contributing to the well-being of individuals, their families and societies. Despite this importance for well-being, unpaid care work is commonly left out of policy agendas. However, neglecting unpaid care work leads to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in individuals’ well-being and the value of time, which in turn limit policy effectiveness across a range of socio-economic areas, notably gender inequalities in employment and other empowerment areas.
For the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Zambia and its partners, the period 2023-2025 poses an opportunity to ensure the implementation of economic and social policies in the SADC region. These policies are to be socially just as well as climate and gender sensitive, in their nature. In their quest to achieve this, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Zambia Office in cooperation with other FES offices and partners in the SADC region, is organizing the Southern African Social Policy Conference. This conference is themed, “Unpaid Care Work and Gender Inequality in the Context of Social Protection”.
The conference will be convened in order to recognize the contributions and roles of women and advocate for gender equality as well as emphasize the role that social protection plays in reducing and preventing poverty and vulnerability throughout the life cycle. The Conference will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from the 23rd to the 24th of August 2023, at the Lindiwe Mabuza Space of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, South Africa Office.