Time use data has revealed that women spend significantly more time on unpaid work activities than men. However, though this is generally understood, we lack global, comparable data to assess the type and magnitude of unpaid work conducted by women, and to measure both the distribution of this work among household members and the extent of gender inequality.

Why it matters

Unpaid care work in the family and community, while seldom recognized and valued, is pivotal to the functioning and well-being of societies. Women shoulder the burden of unpaid care work worldwide, which can affect their ability to join or fully participate in the labor force. Target 5.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also highlights the need to “recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work.” Reliable statistics on unpaid care work tend to be limited globally, due in part to challenges of measuring and valuing time use, particularly in low-income contexts where men’s and women’s work tends to be multidimensional and seasonal. While large-scale time use surveys have measured unpaid care work across many middle- and high-income countries, these surveys are typically very time consuming and expensive, and tend to be underutilized in policymaking.

Partnering with Data2X

Data2X is conducting background work to identify global availability of time use data and, where the data is available, whether and how time use data has influenced policy. Lessons learned from incorporating time use data into policymaking will be outlined in a report based on several country case studies that highlight the link between data and care policy. Data2X is conducting this work in coordination with the ILO to ensure that our research complements ongoing processes and methodological work on SDG 5.4.

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