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Making Work Visible

It is clear that one of the biggest barriers to gender equality is the economic inequality between women and men in Scotland.

This exists in the formal economy where the gender pay gap and lack of access to sustainable jobs means that women earn less and have less influence than men. But there is also the additional problem of the invisible work that (predominantly) women do and which isn't recognised by traditional economic calculations. This includes caring, raising children and other unpaid work - all of which contribute to Scotland's economic wellbeing.

In 2017 we're mapping the work done by women in Scotland.

Fill out our survey about women's work here

and watch out for the launch of our #MakingWorkVisible website on International Women's Day 2017.

Introducing Marginal-eyes

Why is some work invisible?

The economic calculations of governments and international financial institutions (like the International Monetary Fund which monitors the 'economic health' of countries) normally only see paid work as contributing to the economy. Of course we know that's not true, and it misses out the vast value to society of care work, volunteering and contributing to our communities.

Why is this an issue of women's rights?

Women still do the majority of invisible work including housework, raising children and caring for vulnerable relatives. Don't believe us?

  • 62% of unpaid carers are women (Census 2011). Twice as many female carers rely on benefits than male carers, at a rate of £1.55 per hour (Carers Scotland).
  • From the 1970s to the 2000s, men’s core daily domestic work – cleaning and cooking – increased by a rate of about one minute per day per year.” (Beatrix Campbell, End of Equality)
  • Women devote, on average, more than twice as much time to household work as men. (OECD)
  • Across the globe women undertake the majority of unpaid care work – only one third of their total work activity is spent in market based paid work (OECD)

These issues have been compounded in recent years with the savage cuts to public services. Women are the first to bear the brunt of cuts, and are forced to take over services previously offered by the state. You can read more about our responses to welfare cuts in our briefings and blogs, and you can also read the late Ailsa McKay's brilliant speech to the Education Institute Scotland on women and austerity.

What can we do?

There are lots practical measures which Governments could take to start recognising the value of invisible work to the economy. Some of these are advocated by the Women's Budget Group (for the UK), the Scottish Women's Budget Group (for Scotland), WISE Women and the Citizen's Income Trust.

There are also some things you can do!

OUr Economic Models are failing us
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Related publications

Gender matters manifesto: twenty for 2016Gender matters manifesto: twenty for 2016 This manifesto sets out measures that, with political will, can be taken over the next parliamentary term in pursuit of these goals.

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