The Care Economy, Women's Economic Empowerment, and China's Inclusive Growth Agenda
Over the past three decades, China's economy has grown rapidly, creating new economic opportunities for men and women. But these transformations have also
created challenges, especially for women who find it difficult to balance their roles as caregivers and income-earners under reduced social provisions. This
project aims to inform public policies through an analysis of the tensions between China's rapid economic growth and the increased burden on women.
In the last decade, the Chinese government has begun to address socio-economic inequalities, with a renewed interest in social policies. Caregiving is taking
its place in China's new development strategy.
This research project aims to contribute to this policy shift. It will assess the impact of economic transition on women, and promote research-based policy
analysis for gender equality. The work will include thematic reports on women's care responsibilities, labour market participation, and public policies that
can support women. Researchers will:
-apply a variety of research methods;
-actively engage in policy debates; and,
-provide evidence to inform policy solutions.
More specifically, the research will:
-provide empirical evidence on the effects of care work on women's labour market outcomes and economic empowerment;
-pay special attention to women who are disadvantaged, both socially and economically;
-explore policy solutions to address the tensions between paid work and unpaid caregiving;
-assess the effects of existing policy measures on women's labour market outcomes;
-enhance the skills of young Chinese researchers to produce high-quality, policy-relevant economic research on gender issues; and,
-inform stakeholders about the links between the care economy and the productive economy, and what this means for gender equality and inclusive growth in
Caring across generations : policy challenges for China [Mandarin]
Before the reforms during the Maoist era, many care roles and responsibilities were provided by the state and by collectives. As the country embarked on a path of economic reform, care responsibilities shifted back to the household. The economic reform lifted 600 million people out of poverty, but also increased inequalities across socio-economic groups. Only at the turn of the century did China begin to integrate equality and social development back into the policy agenda. With the reforms, women’s roles have changed substantively, especially due to increased rural-to-urban labour migration, a prominent feature of structural change that places a heavy burden of care on those left behind in rural villages. As elsewhere, women in China are primarily responsible for care work, keeping family members nourished and healthy, and taking care of children, the elderly, and the sick. Using data from ten national representative surveys as well as Chinese and English literature, the researchers studied the impacts of unpaid care work and how they interact with labour force participation, time use by gender, well-being, and policies on retirement, pension, and maternity leave.
Author(s): Tran, Olivia, Rodriguez, Edgard, de Haan, Arjan, Zhao, Xiao-Yuan
Caring across generations : policy challenges for China
As elsewhere, women in China are primarily responsible for care work, keeping family members nourished and healthy, and taking care of children, the elderly, and the sick. Using data from ten national representative surveys as well as Chinese and English literature, the study reports on impacts of unpaid care work; how this interacts with labour force participation, time use by gender, and well-being; and policies on retirement, pension, and maternity leave. Care needs and gender equality must be integrated into the broad development agenda; they are not just ‘women’s issues.’ This brief presents findings, and identifies policy lessons.
Author(s): Tran, Olivia, Rodriguez, Edgard, de Haan, Arjan, Dong, Xiao-Yuan, Zhao, Yaohui