50th session of the Human Rights Council
Panel on human rights-based and gender-responsive care and support systems
Statement by Action Canada for Population and Development
27 June 2022
Thank you, President! Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
The ILO report in 2018, highlighted that globally, women perform more than three times as much unpaid care work as men. The ILO further highlights that a staggering 16.4 billion hours a day are spent on unpaid care work.
President, these figures while shocking are dated, because as we know the COVID 19 pandemic has only increased inequalities and entrenched discrimination. To put this in perspective, research by Oxfam has highlighted that “the COVID-19 crisis cost women around the world at least $800 billion in lost income in 2020, equivalent to more than the combined GDP of 98 countries.” Again, these numbers do not count all the unpaid labour of women and girls.
COVID 19 has shown us that care work is essential for sustaining the society and people. The world lived during the pandemic because of care work, paid and unpaid. And, the care economy is overwhelmingly sustained by the labour of women and girls which is racialized and classed. Yet, when there are talks of recovery, states relegate care work to the sidelines.
States continue to push profits over people, we see this in negotiations on TRIPs waivers. We see this in the lack of accountability for TNCs who have profited during the pandemic. And we see this in refusal to implement progressive taxation.
The system that has perpetuated deep rooted inequalities is built upon the exploitation of reproductive labour. Under-recognizing and undervaluing care work is essential for the system to prosper and continue. We ask the panelists how can we dismantle the system that is built on the exploitation of reproductive labour?