Last year, our gender indicator was the percentage of women and men with secure land rights (although the data was insufficient). This year, we have shifted to unpaid care and domestic work, which clearly demonstrates the consequences of gender inequality. Unpaid care work includes the gathering of wood and water, cooking and cleaning tasks, and taking care of children and sick relatives—work that all families require to function. As you can see, this work, some of which is drudgery and some of which is deeply rewarding, is disproportionately shouldered by women and girls.
The burden of unpaid care work is one reason why women are poorer than men, especially during the years when they devote the most time to child rearing. Across 28 countries, 88 percent of women saw their earnings decline when they had children. Globally, women aged 25–34 are 22 percent more likely than men of the same age to be extremely poor.
If the responsibility of unpaid care work were shared equally and reduced overall, women and girls would be freed up to attend school, start businesses, and make their own decisions about how to participate in society and the economy. This would be beneficial not just for individual women, but for their families, their communities, and broader economic growth.