How much unpaid care work do you do?

Do women really do more unpaid care work?

Overall, women are more likely to take on caring roles than men.

  • 58% of carers in the UK are women 
  • Caring experience is particularly concentrated in women aged 55-64, one in five of whom are carers
  • Women are four times more likely than men to give up paid work to do unpaid care work
  • According to Carers UK, the economic value of the unpaid care provided by women in the UK is estimated to be £77 bn per year 
  • 72% of those who receive Carer’s Allowance, the main benefit for carers and worth £62.10 a week, are women
  • Women have a 50:50 chance of providing care by the time they are 59; compared with men who have the same chance by the time they are 75 years old

What difference does it make?

Women are far more likely to be employed in low paid, part-time work, more likely to head a single parent household, more likely to have fewer financial assets and more likely to live in poverty, especially in older age. At the same time, unpaid carers - the majority of whom are women looking after children, or older or unwell family members - contribute unrecognised billions to both economic and social health every year.

Men tend to earn more money, own more assets and have more savings in part because they undertake far fewer unpaid caring work roles.This means that decisions on tax and spending affect women and men very differently. For example, cuts to public spending – whether that is services where women make up 65% of the workforce or welfare benefits – will inevitably hit women much harder than men. Whereas tax increases or tax breaks will impact on men more as they earn and own more.

Read more about our work to ensure women are not hit hardest by economic downturn

What are we calling for?

  • Developing budgetary policy – in particular tax and spending, in a way that takes on board the likely impact on women’s equality
  • Better safeguarding and investing in our “social economy” or infrastructure – cuts to public services and spending may save in the short term, but end up costing the exchequer and our society much more dearly in the medium to longer term
  • Taking more action to unleash women’s economic potential and support our contribution to growth, whether as employee’s or in greater economic leadership roles

How can you campaign for change?

Champion organisations shattering caring stereotypes

The Fawcett Society and charity Spirit of 2012 is funding and working alongside several organisations that are campaigning to challenge traditional gendered caring roles and the undervaluing of care. Learn about our Spirit of Women grantees and what you can do to support their work.

Help us change attitudes to caring responsibilities

Gender stereotypes that say women and girls should take on the lion's share of caring roles begin from a young age, and are often perpetuated at home, school and in wider society.

We are launching Future Fawcett, an education outreach programme to coincide with the suffrage centenary, teaching young women about the history of women's rights in Britain, and what they can learn from it to tackle gender norms and stereotypes in their everyday lives. 

Support Future Fawcett by donating today.