A new study released Friday found that last year, women around the world took on an average of three hours of unpaid child care compared to every hour men assumed.
Demands for home child care have skyrocketed during the pandemic, but men and women have not shared the burden equally.
Globally, women took 173 hours of unpaid child care overtime last year, compared to 59 hours of overtime for men, according to a study released Friday by the Center for Global Development, a non-profit organization. lucrative fight against poverty. The gap has widened in low- and middle-income countries, where women care for children more than three times as many hours as men.
Women have felt many of the worst economic effects of the pandemic, including an estimated loss of income of $ 800 billion, largely due to increased demand for time at home. The Covid-19 recession wiped out gains in pay equity, female labor force participation and unemployment, especially among black and Latin women in the United States. estimate. And as American workers return to the office, mothers are more likely than fathers and childless women not to work.
Charles Kenny, a senior researcher at the Center for Global Development and one of the study’s authors, said the pandemic only exposed existing gender disparities. In 2017, a Pew Research Center report found that mothers do more than twice as much babysitting as fathers in the United States. Globally, the gap varies considerably, but an OECD survey found that women spend an average of three to six hours on care, compared to an average of 30 minutes to two hours for men.
“Every year, year after year, trillions of hours of unpaid care work are performed, the vast majority by women,” he said. “We are not going to achieve a world that sees gender equality until this burden is more equitably shared.”
The study used figures from Unesco and the OECD to measure the number of children at home after school and the average time that men and women in various countries spent childcare. unpaid children before the pandemic. In India, where school closures added 176 billion hours of child care, the study estimated that women carried more than 10 times the burden of men.
Some governments have tried to help families with child care needs. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proposed a measure to reduce the cost of child care to C $ 10 per day. Australian lawmakers are considering a budget that would spend A $ 1.7 billion on childcare subsidies, removing annual caps on support for many families and increasing payments to families with multiple children. The U.S. government, for its part, has allocated $ 53 billion to prevent child care centers from closing during the pandemic.
In many places, these measures have not been enough to prevent women from leaving the workplace or to recover large numbers. And as economies reopen and emergency budgets expire, Kenny has warned those disparities won’t go away either.
“Burnout, stress on families – it doesn’t just go away when kids go back to school,” he said. “It could be something that has a pretty long shadow.”
(Updates in fourth paragraph with more information on child care gaps before the pandemic.)