The need for care services, including childcare, is growing
in response to changes in the labour market, family
structures and demographic shifts. In 2015, 0.8 billion
children under six years old and 1.1 billion children
aged 7–15 years required care (ILO, 2018a). By 2030, an
additional 0.1 billion children aged 6–14 years will require
care alongside a growing population of older persons.
This represents both a challenge and an opportunity
for labour markets today and in the future. The current
lack of affordable high-quality care services, combined
with the prevalence of low-paid and informal care jobs,
increases the burden and pressure on women and girls
from low-income households and further reinforces
inequalities, especially gender inequality (ibid.).
In no country in the world do men and women engage
in an equal share of unpaid care work. Though this can
be rewarding and fulfilling work, it can also come at a
great cost to women’s participation in the labour market
and their access to income and social security throughout
their lives. Women from low-income households are less
likely to have access to education and training and may
have no choice but to seek work in the informal economy
where entry barriers are lower than in the formal economy.
They will likely continue to undertake most of the unpaid
care work in their homes even while they work to earn an
income. Combined, these factors contribute to women’s
concentration in the lowest-earning and most vulnerable
forms of work within the informal economy.