Women’s rights, care work and policy during COVID19

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    Date(s) - November 2, 2020
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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    This second carework presentation in our webinar series was a collaboration between the Carework Network, the Southern Gerontological Society, and the Georgia Gerontology Society.

    This webinar was presented live in English and Spanish with closed captioning so that English and Spanish speakers could participate equally.


    “Women’s rights, care work and policy during COVID19“showcases two international scholars reflecting on the challenges for women in North and South American who are disproportionately affected by the current crisis. Professor Nancy Folbre provides a general talk on the impact of COVID-19 on the US and other affluent countries and Dr. Maria Nieves Rico  describes how COVID-19 has specifically posed threats to women’s rights in Latin America. This webinar provides an opportunity to consider our common challenges as well as how place and context demands a different response.

    About the presenters

    Maria Nieves Rico
    International consultant, feminist, and migrant

    Maria Nieves Rico, PhD. is an Argentinian international consultant, feminist, and migrant. She recently retired from serving as a United Nations official from 1992 to 2020 and was former Director of the Gender Affairs Division and former Acting Director of the European Union – Latin America and Caribbean Foundation (EU-LAC) Social Development Division.

    Dr. Nieves Rico has authored books and other publications on care policies, gender-based violence, family, child poverty, the labour market, the environment, and women’s rights, among other topics, with a focus on gender equality and human rights. For her last book, “Who Cares in the City? Contributions to urban equality policies” published in 2017, she served as editor as well as the author of several chapters.

    Abstract – Care at the core of the pandemic: the threat to women’s rights.

    Nowadays, care has won visibility. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed care at the centre of public debate and transformed its value as a global public good. However, it is clear that the pandemic has had a different impact on men and women. Entrenched gendered division of labour and the labour market have determined governments’ measures to deal with the pandemic. This has influenced the distribution of care within families and societies to be unfair and disadvantage women.

    In Latin-America, the pandemic and its synergies among care crisis, health crisis and poverty, are in full development, and there is no clarity about the future. Even so, it is possible to identify the big problems that affect women differentially in public and private spheres, and in their gender roles as paid workers and household members. All of this jeopardizes the women rights movement, puts adopted policies in question, and at the same time asks us to think about proposals for social change and increasing equality.


    Nancy Folbre
    Professor Emerita of Economics and Director of the Program on Gender and Care Work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    Nancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of Economics and Director of the Program on Gender and Care Work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst  Her research explores the interface between political economy and feminist theory, with a particular emphasis on the value of unpaid care work. In addition to numerous articles published in academic journals, she is author of The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems. An Intersectional Political Economy, forthcoming in February 2021 from Verso, the editor of For Love and Money: Care Work in the U.S. (Russell Sage, 2012), and the author of Greed, Lust, and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas (Oxford, 2009), Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family (Harvard, 2008), and The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (New Press, 2001). She has also written widely for a popular audience, including contributions to The New York Times Economix blog (https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/author/nancy-folbre/), The Nation, and the American Prospect. Her current writing on the political economy of care provision can be seen on her blog, Care Talk (https://blogs.umass.edu/folbre/).

    Presentation Abstract: General talk on impact in the US and other affluent countries

    The Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. has both savaged women’s opportunities to earn income and intensified their total workload. Increased responsibilities for family care have led to dramatic decreases in women’s paid labor force participation. Women working in the “care sector” of the economy (encompassing both paid and unpaid work) have been subjected to enormous stress. It’s important to explore a large set of policies that could potentially move our economies toward more greater gender equality as well as more sustainable and effective care provision. The policies outlined by the UK Women’s Budget Group provides a great starting point for discussion.


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