Need to address unpaid care in Post-2015 development Agenda
The unequal distribution of unpaid care work at the family level negatively affects women and girls throughout their lives.
Women are more overburdened with unpaid care work which prevents them from accessing education, formal employment and participation in decision making platforms on an equal basis with men. Women’s disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work also contributes to feminized inter-generational transmission of poverty, making it a serious concern in the post-2015 development agenda.
Various actors have launched a campaign to push heads of states and governments to adopt the gender equality and women’s rights as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 development agenda.
Dr Josephine Obonyo, a lecturer at the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies at the University of Nairobi argues that goals in other relevant areas of the post-2015 development framework should also take into account unpaid care work as a major determinant of opportunities and rights enjoyment of women living in poverty.
Obonyo observes that women take up more unpaid care work and cites duties such as caring for the sick, household chores, fetching water as well as feeding and caring for the children among other unpaid care work activities.
“The hardest hit category is that of women from poor households in the rural areas who spend many hours every day fetching water, fuel and food for their families,” observes Obonyo.
She argues that the post-2015 development agenda should recognise the importance of promoting gender equality and empowerment of women to participate in all spheres of social, economic and political life to enhance achievement of sustainable development.
According to Obonyo, climate change is a real long-term threat to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) yet little has been done by policymakers in African to mobilize and empower women and men to address global environmental challenges such as climate change.
Obonyo regrets that climate change poses a serious challenge to the achievement of sustainable development for the rural poor, especially for the women who suffer from its impacts on their daily socio-economic activities.
“The post-2015 development framework should focus on acknowledging gender roles between women and men as far as climate change is concerned” says Obonyo. She adds: “The roles played by the two sexes will be affected by climate change policies designed by states and governments in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda for sustainable development to be achieved.”