Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa

This project seeks to examine the links between women's economic empowerment, women's paid work, and their unpaid care responsibilities. Its goal is to support policies and programs that can empower women to overcome barriers stemming from their dual roles as money-earners and primary care providers. Even as more women enter the labour force, their unpaid domestic responsibilities have not diminished. In developing countries, women and girls regularly take on unpaid care work. This has important implications for their economic empowerment. It can - restrict their ability to participate in economic, social, and political activities - limit their ability to seek employment - constrain their employment choices and options By quantifying time spent on care work and women's unpaid contribution to the economy, time-use surveys have helped us better understand the burden of care. However, there are knowledge gaps. We need a deeper understanding of the relationship between women's paid and unpaid care work, and how care is organized. This project will focus on India, Nepal, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Researchers will examine the links between women's economic empowerment, women's paid work, and their unpaid care responsibilities. The insights will encourage policies that consider care arrangements while also increasing women's participation in the labour force. The research team will use the results to offer policy advice on how state and non-state women's economic empowerment policies and programs can integrate unpaid care work. The goal? To maximize knowledge and share solutions across families and generations. This research is supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program. GrOW is a five-year, multi-funder partnership of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC. With a focus on low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, GrOW aims to support policies and interventions that improve women's livelihoods and contribute to societal well-being. One component of the program will support 11 projects addressing barriers to women's economic empowerment and gender gaps in earnings and productivity. This project is among them, selected following a competitive call.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


27 months

IDRC Officer

Martha Melesse

Total funding

CA$ 1,148,617


South Asia, South of Sahara


Employment and Growth, Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women

Project Leader

Deepta Chopra


Institute of Development Studies GB

Institution Country

United Kingdom

Institution Website