Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
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The Institute of Development Studies
The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a leading global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex. Founded in 1966, IDS enjoys an international reputation based on the quality of our work and our commitment to applying academic skills to real-world challenges. Our theory of change is at the heart of what we do. We think that knowledge should be generated by sound methodology and in partnership with other development and non-development actors.
IDS and the Unpaid Care Work Programme
There is a large and robust body of evidence about the extent of unpaid care work that women and girls do, and its contributions to both the economy and human development outcomes. But is this evidence being used to inform public policy? In our research programme “Influencing Policies to Support the Empowerment of Women and Girls”, we are exploring the political economy conditions under which policy actors recognise or ignore the significance of women’s unpaid care work.
Current Work on Unpaid Care
As part of our work in the unpaid care work programme – funded by DFID (as part of the Accountable Grant) and SIDA (as part of the Gender, Power and Sexuality Project – we have conducted a thematic literature review, which examined state-owned public policies and programmes in social protection and early childhood development sector in 144 low and middle income countries and identified cases of successful policies in these two sectors. Through this, we created a social protection database which covers 50+ countries and over 260 state-owned public policies and programmes. It also highlights which policies and programmes take unpaid care work into consideration and indicates the extent to which they recognise women’s unpaid care work, reduce the drudgery associated with performing care and/or redistribute responsibilities for care (e.g. towards the state, community, men.).
In our national level advocacy we partner with ActionAid International to help each of the four ActionAid countries (Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria
and Uganda) to develop and implement an advocacy strategy on making unpaid care work visible in public policy, as well as integrate concerns of unpaid care into each country’s programming. We are also working with the Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST), at the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), Bangladesh and the SMERU Research Institute Indonesia to look at common narratives around gender, women and care; the actors, champions and groups relevant to decisions and policies on care; the country, historical and institutional context; political processes and windows of opportunity; and interactions of power determining the visibility and invisibility of care.
Together with our international partners Action Aid International and OxfamGB, our International level advocacy involves working to raise the visibility of unpaid care work in global policy agendas. We participated in the expert meeting of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in Geneva, in May 2013 where we shared our learning about what is working to raise the visibility of care on development policy agendas and in co-organising a launch for the report with our partners Action Aid International and Oxfam GB in October 2013. We also took part in two side events dedicated solely to making unpaid care work visible in a post-MDG world at the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2014 and a third event, which recognised unpaid care work as a cross cutting issue for challenging stereotypes and building new alliances to address gender inequality post-2015.Who
Outputs from the programme include policy briefs on Connecting Unpaid Care Work and Childhood Development for Gains in Women and Children’s rights and Towards Gender Equality with Care-sensitive Social Protection. We also produced the animation ‘Who Cares’, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Digital Communication Awards. ‘Who Cares’ follows a woman caregiver, living in poverty, throughout her daily journey as she struggles against the drudgery associated with unequal care responsibilities.
More information on our Unpaid care work programme can be found on the IDS Interactions website
Upcoming Work on Women’s Economic Empowerment
IDS will be commencing a new project, as part of the DFID, IDRC and Hewlett Foundation Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) programme in January 2015. The 27-month project, “Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women’s economic empowerment programmes and policies”, aims to create knowledge about how women’s economic empowerment (WEE) policy and programming can generate a ‘double boon’: paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities.
Wikiegender Online discussions
From October 20-24, Deepta Chopra and Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed from the Institute of Development Studies will be two of the lead discussants as part of the Unpaid care in the post-2015 agenda on unpaid care work in the post-2015 agenda.