This webinar focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on the care system and care workers, how social protection systems are responding to the impacts of the pandemic on care work, and the extent to which the crisis and policy responses can be gender-transformative.
The COVID-19 crisis has, is having, and will continue to have significant impacts on care work in both the public and private domains. There are increasing and changing care burdens especially for those working in the care sector, such as healthcare workers, domestic workers. Globally, women make up 70 per cent of workers in the health and social sector (WHO, 2019). In many countries, this work is done by migrant workers under often already precarious conditions.
The closure of schools and childcare facilities means that children need to be taken care of at home at a time when households are facing income losses. Some countries have already started adapting their social protection system in order to respond to this new scenario. For example, some countries have implemented care allowances for those who are not able to work because they need to take care of their dependents. In others, families with children are receiving cash transfers, child benefits, childcare vouchers or top-ups through existing programmes.
Against this background, a number of questions were addressed during this webinar:
- What are the impacts of the current Covid-19 on the care system and care workers?
- How can and are social protection systems responding to the impacts of the pandemic on care work, in both the private and the public sphere?
- What do experiences from other health crises, such as Zika in Latin America, tell us about care work, gender, and social protection?
- To which extent can the crisis and policy responses be gender-transformative? Can they change for example traditional divisions of labour or how we value care work?