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New action-research program seeks to transform the care economy

IDRC and the Soros Economic Development Fund have launched a new action-oriented research initiative to help transform the care economy through impact investing.
Drawing of a street scene depicting people cooking, cleaning and caring for others.
Karolina Leopold/Kore Global

The care economy consists of the paid and unpaid labour and services that support caregiving in all its forms. This work is vital to society, yet remains undervalued and unevenly distributed, with responsibilities falling disproportionally on women. The care crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing gender inequalities in the care economy. As a result, the barriers that hamper women’s economic empowerment have grown stronger.  

Announced as a commitment at the Generation Equality Forum, this research initiative will generate the knowledge and evidence base needed to mobilize capital and impact investors to address the care economy’s challenges in emerging markets. The program includes local market analysis and case studies, impact assessment, care-economy business incubation and acceleration, research on regulatory frameworks and policies, and industry-policy dialogues.  

Through this partnership, IDRC continues to build on its commitment to transform the care economy and mobilize finance for gender equality.  

The Open Society Foundations have made investing in care work a priority in their investing arm, the Soros Economic Development Fund. The fund aims to demonstrate the investment and long-term potential of the care economy and draw more investment capital, and attention, to the field. 

Visit the initiative’s Care Economy Knowledge Hub

Read a related guest article on the NextBillion site