St Vincent is among four Eastern Caribbean countries that will pilot a survey to measure unpaid care work.
This will be done through a census in an effort to capture women’s total contributions to social and economic development as a means to gather data and bridge the existing gap in fully assessing how this time is divided between women and men and reduce gender inequality.
Representative from the UN Women Multi-country Office in the Caribbean, Tonni Brodber noted that effective data collection is detrimental in terms of pushing policy development and emphasised that unpaid care work must be counted.
She said: “Care work is crucial to our societies and to the economy. It includes looking after children, elderly people, and those with physical and mental illnesses and disabilities, as well as daily domestic work like cooking, cleaning, washing, mending, and fetching water and firewood in some communities still in the Caribbean.
“Without someone investing time, effort and resources in these essential daily tasks, communities, workplaces, and whole economies would grind to a halt. What we knew at the global level was that, on an average pre-COVID-19 day, women spent about three times as many hours on unpaid domestic work and care work as men.
“Prior to COVID-19, data on how much time women and men spent on unpaid care and domestic work was not sufficiently prioritised and therefore scarce.
It was observed that in the end, women work longer hours than men when both unpaid care and paid market work are combined, including the work that happens inside the home, cooking, cleaning, care of children, and care of the elderly.
The UN Women Representative also shared that the CARICOM Secretariat, and the OECS Commission along with national governments and other partners are working assiduously to close this major data gap by supporting the piloting of the measurement of unpaid care work in Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.