WHAT IS WE–CARE?
The Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care (WE–Care) initiative with support from OXFAM started in 2013, building on a history of efforts to recognize and address care work in programmes promoting livelihoods, gender justice and waged workers’ rights. The Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care: Evidence for Influencing Change (WE–Care) project in Uganda was launched in 2014 in Lamwo district with Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) coordinating the project and Women and Rural Development Network (WORUDET) leading community Care Change actions this project aims to produce new methodologies and context–specific evidence about care activities to influence existing development initiatives and policy advocacy.
WE–Care aims to address the heavy and unequal responsibilities for housework and care that women face. Care work is an invisible barrier limiting women’s time, mobility and ambitions to participate in economic, political and social activities. This is especially acute for families and women living in poverty.
Objectives and Indicators of Success
To contribute to women’s political, social and economic empowerment, and for overcoming poverty, the project aims to bring about the following changes in care work (also known as the four ‘Rs’):
Increase the recognition of care (e.g. care is considered “work”, and men’s and women’s roles are more visible).
Reduce arduous care tasks (e.g. total hours of care work of poor families go down, and women and men can choose to spend more time on other activities/work or on other forms of care like spending time with their children).
Redistribute responsibility for care more equitably between women and men, and between households and the state/employers. (e.g. Women do fewer hours, and men do more; Government/employers invest to increase access to care services and infrastructure such as childcare or water).
Facilitate the representation of carers in decision–making (with government/communities).
Why do we need to change how households and communities provide care?
Care has long been considered the natural responsibility of women. As a result the costs of providing care fall disproportionately on women. In recent years, significant evidence and research findings demonstrate that investments in care–by governments, civil society and employers–improve well being, women’s enjoyment of their rights, economic development and reduce inequality. Investing in care services also improves the well being of those who receive care. Yet development and policy actors often neglect the issue.
Addressing care work is a critical precondition for women’s political, economic and social empowerment.