New WHO Report Finds Women Perform 76% of Unpaid Healthcare Activities
Women perform 76 percent of unpaid care work.

Women perform an estimated 76% of all unpaid healthcare activities, according to a new WHO report on gender-based discrimination in healthcare. 

Globally, it has been estimated that women spend between two and ten times more time on unpaid health care work than men, amounting to a total of 16.4 billion hours per day.

Further, in their paid work in the health and care sector women face an average pay gap of 24 percent compared to men, after controlling for working time, experience, education, occupational category and institutional sector, according to the report, “Fair share for health and care,” published Wednesday.

A country and gender comparison of time spent in unpaid work among healthcare workers.

The report describes how chronic underinvestment in health systems results in a vicious cycle of unpaid health and care work, lowering women’s paid labour participation and their economic empowerment. 

With stagnation in progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), resulting in 4.5 billion people lacking full coverage of essential health services, women may take on even more unpaid care work as time goes by, the report warned.

“The ‘Fair share’ report highlights how gender-equitable investments in health and care work would reset the value of health and care and drive fairer and more inclusive economies,” said Jim Campbell, WHO’s Director for Health Workforce, in a press release.

“Investments in health and care systems not only accelerate progress on UHC, they redistribute unpaid health and care work,” according to a WHO press release. “When women participate in paid health and care employment, they are economically empowered and health outcomes are better. Health systems need to recognize, value and invest in all forms of health and care work.

“We are calling upon leaders, policy-makers and employers to action investment: it is time for a fair share for health and care,” Campbell empathized.

Image Credits: WHO, WHO.

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