Measuring all of women’s work, paid and unpaid, is a complex task, especially in developing countries. Globally, women are responsible for a disproportionate share of unpaid work, such as cooking, cleaning, and child care, and in low-income contexts, women are also heavily involved in collecting water and fuel for their households and working without pay for family farms and businesses. Women in the paid labor market are often concentrated in seasonal or casual work in the informal sector and in formal enterprises. But only less than one-third of countries currently produce sex-disaggregated statistics on unpaid work and informal employment.

Why it matters

There are vast economic and social implications of understanding the range of women’s productive work. With more complete data on women’s work contributions and burdens, policymakers can develop employment policies that are overall more effective and better targeted towards women’s needs and time constraints, including childcare policies, time-saving investments within the household such as better access to water, electricity, and improved cooking fuel, programs encouraging women’s participation in the labor market, and education/training initiatives. Under-counting women’s productive work carries significant policy risks, as well as the risk that national statistics will underestimate women’s economic contributions.

Partnering with Data2X

In 2014, Data2X, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the World Bank (WBG), launched the Women’s Work and Employment partnership, with the overarching goal of addressing challenges in measuring work and employment to ensure that women are counted. The partnership supports research in two core areas:

Partnership Products