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Women, COVID-19, and care economy

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This fact sheet explores women and the care economy in the context of COVID-19 in Canada. This fact sheet is part of a series looking at the impacts of COVID-19 on women in Canada using an intersectional analysis.
Luna, K. C.
Fact sheet
Publication Date: 
1 Apr 2021

Excerpted from Introduction

Worldwide, women are most often primary caregivers in families, performing most of the world’s unpaid and low-paid care work. 606 million women provide unpaid care on a full-time basis (compared to 41 million men) (Roosevelt 2019 pg 36). Women in Canada spend an average of 3.0 hours per day on unpaid household care work, including caring for children, or adult family members, chores, and other household duties, more than the 2.4 hours men spend doing the same tasks(Houle et al. 2017). Furthermore, 56% of women work in “5 Cs” jobs: caring, cleaning, clerical, catering, and cashiering sectors (Moyser 2017), with racialized and immigrant women overrepresented in these positions (Sethi 2020). With the COVID-19 pandemic, care work has disproportionately fallen on women’s shoulders. They have taken on increased caregiving roles, as frontline workers in health and home care, in addition to filling gaps in their own homes providing childcare and care for family members.