The aging EU population, the rising need for support in childcare and the COVID-19 pandemic have made it more obvious than ever: we all depend on care. But despite being essential for our collective well-being and the functioning of society, care work remains highly undervalued.
Unpaid care work in households and families is usually provided by women. It is one of the main barriers for their participation on the labour market, leading to pay and career penalties which are most evident when looking at the gender pension gap, which currently stands at 29% in the EU. Paid care work, also usually provided by women, is also highly undervalued. The care sector is one of the lowest paid and marked by highly precarious working conditions. Due to lack of investment and political action, affordable quality care is becoming a rare public good.
Investment into the care economy is imperative for a sustainable economic recovery and gender justice. This joint project by FES and the Foundation of European Progressive Studies (FEPS) endeavours to put care at the centre of political attention and make Europe #Care4Care.
Discover more about the project in our campaign video or by browsing our publications below. The project page of our partner FEPS can be found here. You can also find more information on our thematic portal "Feminist Europe" here.
For more information on the project, please reach out to Agnes Mach, our Policy Officer for Political Education, Participation and Gender Equality: Agnes.Mach(at)fes.de
We have developed the EU Care Atlas in cooperation with FEPS to offer data on the three dimensions of the gender earnings gap on an EU average and in EU member states. The disproportionate burden of unpaid care responsibilities and women’s “double shifts” of paid and unpaid work become most obvious by browsing through the datasets on the gender gaps in time use on paid and unpaid work.
75% of unpaid and domestic care work in the EU is done by women. The inequal share in care responsibilities directly feeds into gender inequalities and solidifies them in the long term.
The most striking example is the gender earnings gap, currently at 36,7% in the EU. In addition to the gender pay gap, which currently stands at 13% in the EU, it also factors in the working hours gap and the employment gap. All three are directly linked to care, be it because of low pay in the care sector, or mothers being forced to reduce working hours or forego paid work completely.
Browse through the EU Care Atlas and discover how care deficits directly feed into the gender overall earnings gap, perpetuating gender inequalities.
Our Care4Care project builds on a network of care experts across Europe, who take part in exchanges between stakeholders to develop progressive and transformative policy approaches towards gender equality and care. The Care Framework provides a general introduction of the main challenges addressed in our project and offers a 10-Point Action Plan.
Our Policy Study on the European Care Strategy provides a deeper look into how to strengthen the rights of care-receivers and care-givers. The study features several contributions by authors from academia, civil society and policy-making.
The Care4Care Policy Brief Series provides a closer look at various issues concerning care work, such as the working conditions of intra-EU migrant caregivers or the gendered dimension of part-time work. New articles are being published on a continuous basis.
Find all Policy Briefs below:
A special Policy Brief Series written by Jayati Ghosh in September 2022 provides an extensive insight into care and its intersection with other global challenges. In three contributions, she illustrates the particularities of care work and explains how and why care inequalities need to be addressed by public policy.
Find all Policy Briefs below: