The Report presents a thematic regional analysis of unpaid work of women in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) and the resulting empowerment women gain when their responsibility for such work is reduced. The report concludes with policy recommendations that prioritize the importance of unpaid work as a barrier to women’s economic empowerment. Removing this barrier require specific interventions in three key areas: the labour market, the social care infrastructure and gender-specific social norms. While significant progress is required across all these fronts, the most effective policy intervention to empower women through reducing unpaid work is the provision of institutionalized, high-quality, affordable childcare, especially for young children. Progress towards gender equality through the redistribution of unpaid work would allow women to benefit from new employment and family responsibility arrangements. Achieving these long-overdue changes will unlock the potential of women’s economic empowerment.

It is part of a series of knowledge products developed to strengthen economic and social policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a gender lens. The UNECE - UN Women series: Rethinking Care Economy and Empowering Women for Building back Better forms part of a collaboration by wider UN Development Account tranche 13 project: Strengthening Social Protection for Pandemic Response. The project aims at strengthening national capacities to design and implement social policies for rapid recovery from COVID-19 and for increased resilience to future exogenous shocks. The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia collaborated to implement the project for the region.


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Cantillon, S. & Teasdale, N. 2021, Empowering Women through reducing Unpaid Work: A regional Analysis of Europe and Central Asia UNECE, United Nations Women and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Available at: https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/publications/3419ca1a-3101-4a52-bd79-142783aaaf16

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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