27.01.2021

Care work and the Pandemic - Issue Brief

Having internalized patriarchal and exploitative capitalist assumptions that render care work invisible, studies have unfortunately not considered the importance of care work and its impact on the MENA region’s economy.

Women do critical work both within and outside of the home, the implications of which we will discuss below. In our view, taking “women” as an analytical category should not obscure dynamics that pertain to other social identifications and positions, such as class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, and others. We also understand that women’s significant contribution to their economies is eclipsed by the injustices that accompany this work, from abuse to devaluation and the process of invisibilization that renders this work “non-work,” be it paid or unpaid. Patriarchy renders women’s work invisible, and is responsible as such for the neglect of care work and the precarity of women’s work in the informal sector; the largest employer of women worldwide (Bonnet et al. 2019). Thus, social protection must include processes of inclusion, valorization, and representation. We believe social protection must do the following: create a fair and gender-equitable system for participation in economic processes; enable improved quality of life and economic security over time; and allow support of oneself and one’s family. In addition, both social protection and labor laws need to be revisited so as to better define what “work” means, and to include both formal and informal work; paid and unpaid care work; and the labor of migrant workers.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Department for Middle East and North Africa
FES Berlin
Hiroshimastraße 28
10785 Berlin

info.nahost(at)fes.de

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