Ursula Barry, Emeritus Associate Professor with the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, has recently published a study on The Care Economy, Covid-19 Recovery and Gender Equality. This study was commissioned by the European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee of the Parliament. It explores the impact of COVID-19 on the EU care economy, the gendered nature of care work and its continued reliance on unpaid or low-paid work of women, including many migrant women. Issues of valuing and measuring care are examined and selected countries are profiled that have different systems of care provision. Despite the recognition of the centrality of the care economy during the pandemic, the establishment of a new highly significant EU funding system (the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, RRF) is focused largely on digital and green investments, paying only marginal attention to the care economy critical to achieving greater gender equality. This Report concludes that the care economy should be seen as social investment (and placed on an equal footing with the digital and green economies) by ringfencing 30% of funding to the support of care infrastructure and care activities at both EU and Member States’ levels. Public investment in the labour-intensive care sector should aim to increase the value of care, address poor conditions in the care sector and improve the quality of care.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/694784/IPOL_STU(2021)694784_EN.pdf