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International Women's Day, #Balanceforbetter

Unpaid care work

International Women’s Day (8 March) is an annual day of celebration for women all over the world and a focal point in the global movement for women’s rights. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of issues and problems that women face in their lives.

This year, International Women’s Day focuses on gender inequality, using the hashtag #BalanceforBetter. The Empower Youth for Work (EWY) teams will use the campaign to shine a light on the unequal division of unpaid care work.

Unpaid care work means household work such as childcare, cleaning, cooking, laundry, looking after cattle etc., for which you don’t get paid. These are everyday tasks for people and that in itself is not a problem. Unpaid care work becomes an issue when the workload is unequally divided among family members. Often the men of the family go outside the house and do paid work, while women and girls are left charge of the care work at home.

This division of labour means that the females of the family don’t have any time or energy to pursue their own economic or social opportunities. Studies show that around the world, women shoulder most of the responsibility for unpaid care work – reducing their opportunities to learn, earn an income, enjoy leisure pursuits or take part in community and political life.

This is why the topic is so important when talking about empowerment of women. For International Women’s Day, the EYW teams are running online and offline events and activities to help raise awareness of this issue within their local communities and encourage a fairer division of care work within households. 

  • Bangladesh: quizzing the community

    In Bangladesh, International Women’s day will be celebrated through discussions about unpaid care work in schools and communities. To help kickstart the conversation, participants will do a quiz about unpaid care work. This will give people the chance to test their knowledge but more importantly, it will open up the discussion about the issue and how it affects them, their families and their communities. The quiz and the conversations will help the students and community members to become more aware of the positive effects of sharing care tasks fairly, and how they will all benefit from this. A wider public will be reached by a online campaign, including a video with the quiz

  • Pakistan: the care work challenge!

    In Pakistan, the #FreefromFear campaign started during the UN 16 Days of Activism campaign in November and December 2018, and continues to raise awareness of violence and harassment of women in public places and on public transport. On International Women’s Day, art students’ submissions to the #FreefromFear poster competition submissions during the 16 Days campaign will be exhibited and  a high-profile jury panel will choose the winners.  Pakistan EYW teams are also taking part in the #BalanceforBetter campaign on the issue of unpaid care work, including collaborating with a popular local influencer who will take a week-long ‘care work challenge’. Starting on 19 March, he will do the household activities that are usually done by his wife and document the experience on social media. The challenge will hopefully encourage other men to get involved in care work in their own homes.

  • Ethiopia: starting a community dialogue

    In Ethiopia, the issue of unpaid care work will be brought up in community conversations in Oromia and Somali region. EYW youth group members are spreading information about the International Women’s Day activities using posters, banners and brochures. The material will focus attention on the problem, and male and female participants in the community dialogues will get a better understanding how everyone benefits if household tasks are shared more equally. Interviews will be held with community elders, clan leaders, religious leaders and local government officials to raise the issue at the level of decision makers. The campaign will raise people’s awareness of the social, mental and economic impact on women of the unequal division of care work, and encourage other family members to play their part.

  • Indonesia: taking a visual approach

    In Indonesia, the EYW team has created infographics on the demographics of unpaid care work. Working with their partners, the team will share these visuals on social media to increase awareness on the issue and bring it to the attention of larger audience.