By Megan Clement
Changes in family structures and lengthening life expectancies are leading the world towards a care crisis, the International Labour Organization has warned. And it’s women who will lose out the most.
The world is facing a crisis in the provision of care in the coming decades, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned. In a new report on the future of the global care economy, the authors state that without proper government investment in care services before 2030, gender inequality will increase and economies will suffer.
Much of the looming care conundrum is due to the changing structure of families worldwide. While in the past, the burden of unpaid care work has been split across extended families, the rise of nuclear families and single-parent households has intensified the responsibilities that fall to primary caregivers, who, more often than not, are women. There are 300 million single parents leading households worldwide, and 78 percent of them are women.
“This idea of the traditional role of extended families helping out with child care – it’s not the norm any more,” Addati says.
Mayra Buvinic, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, says this dynamic applies to the elderly as well, and that the developing world will be affected just as much as the developed.
“In the developing world you’re still under the notion that families will take care of their elderly, but they’re not any more, in a lot of places,” she says. “And then what do you do with your elderly?
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