A World Health Organization report, “Fair Share for Health and Care: Gender and the Undervaluation of Health and Care Work,” highlights the negative impact of gender inequality in health and care work on women, health systems, and health outcomes. The report states that investment in health systems has led to a cycle of unpaid health and care work, lowering women’s participation in paid labor markets, harming women’s economic empowerment, and hampering gender equality. Women comprise 67% of the paid global health and care workforce and an estimated 76% of all unpaid care activities.

The report highlights that low pay and demanding working conditions are common in the health and care sector, negatively impacting wages, working conditions, productivity, and the economic footprint of the sector. With stagnation in progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), 4.5 billion people lack full coverage of essential health services, and women may take on even more unpaid care work.

The report calls upon leaders, policymakers, and employers to take action for a fair share of health and care. Policy levers to better value health and care work include improving working conditions for all forms of health and care work, especially for highly feminized occupations, and including women more equitably in the paid labor workforce. Other policy levers include enhanced conditions of work and wages, ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, addressing the gender gap in care, supporting quality care work, and upholding the rights and well-being of caregivers.

Investments in health and care systems not only accelerate progress on UHC but also redistribute unpaid health and care work. When women participate in paid health and care employment, they are economically empowered, and health outcomes improve.

Source: NAN

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