Unpaid Care Work Adds Up Big Time for Wellbeing

Feminist economists like Nancy Folbre have written at length about the value of non-wage care work in domestic, subsistence, informal economy, and volunteer sectors. Sectors that are often dominated by women.  In 2018, McKinsey estimated that if women’s unpaid labor were accounted for, it would add $28 trillion or 26% to the global economy. Just think if we also add the value men’s (as well as non-binary/gender fluid) unpaid care work!

Why am I talking about getting paid when this month is supposed to be about giving? Because even those of us who do unpaid care work have been socialized to value it less then a wage-earning job. And that has to change! It’s time we all start to better appreciate how much care work not only contributes to the wellbeing of other people and the planet, but boosts our own as well.

Tip #205: Honor the Domestic God(dess)

Have you ever thought about all the things you do regularly around the house? Write it down, then compare lists with those you live with. Warning: there may be surprises & arguments, maybe changes, & hopefully more appreciation.

Tip #206: Recognize child-raising

It takes tremendous time and energy to raise a child–more if you’re an over-achiever or have multiple kids! So why do we expect both parents to work full-time while doing THE MOST vital job of raising a family? No more double shifts!

Tip #207: Respect relationship work

Most wellbeing measures rank relationships in the top 5 indicators for wellbeing. And good relationships take work! So if you wrangle the social calendar, check on sick friends, get gifts, etc, how many hours would you get paid for?

Tip #208: Embrace elder support

Kids are not the only ones in our communities who need care. What about our elders? They’ve given to others all their lives – isn’t it time they got a little back? Rather than a burden, embrace it as meaningful work & value it accordingly.

Tip #209: Applaud community care

Communities don’t function well if volunteers don’t serve on committees, support PTAs, maintain trails, and help during emergencies. Who cares? And why don’t we value it as much as paid jobs? This is the definition of essential work.

Tip #210: Tally total unpaid labor 

If you add up all the hours you put into child & elder care, domestic & relationship & community work…how many hours a week would you be working? 40 hours? More? If caring isn’t a full time job, I don’t know what is! Just pay in ❤️

Next Week…

We’re starting a new month and a new method of community engagement that contributes to community wellbeing: participation. Participating in democratic decision making is both a duty and a right! See you then…


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