Women and Unpaid Care Work: A Review

  • Fatma Osman Ibnouf
Part of the Gender, Development and Social Change book series (GDSC)


This chapter examines the degree of attention paid to women as unpaid caregivers/providers in peacebuilding and the increased burden endured by women during and after war. It provides a literature review on unpaid care work in relation to peacebuilding. It inquires if the literature on care work takes sufficient account of role women as caregivers/providers in peacebuilding, or if it deals with the increased care burdens placed on women in wartime and aftermath of war? It also reviews the resolutions of UNSCR 1325 that have promoted the role of women in peace processes with specific attention to gendered care work. This chapter concludes with background knowledge on the valuation of unpaid care work.


Unpaid care UNSCR 1325 Gender Peacebuilding 


  1. Adam, I.F. 2015. The Influence of Maternal Health Education on the Place of Delivery in Conflict Settings of Darfur, Sudan. Conflict & Health 9 (1): 31. Published Online 5 October 2015.
  2. Adeogun, T.J., and J.M. Muthuki. 2018. Feminist Perspectives on Peacebuilding: The Case of Women’s Organizations in South Sudan. Agenda 32 (2): 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akbal, G.P. 2017. Female Combatants: Same Goals, Different Motivations? E–International Relations Studies.
  4. Antonopoulos, R. 2008. The Unpaid Care Work Paid Work Connection. Working Paper, No. 541, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.Google Scholar
  5. Bain, W. 1999. Against Crusading: The Ethic of Human Security and Canadian Foreign Policy. Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 6 (3): 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berry, M.E. 2018. From Violence to Mobilization: War, Women, and Political Power in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blackden, C.M., and Q. Wodon. 2006. Gender, Time Use, and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Working Paper 73, The World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. Budlender, D. 2010. Time Use Studies and Unpaid Care Work, 1st ed. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buvinic, M., M. Das Gupta, U. Casabonne, and P. Verwimp. 2013. Violent Conflict and Gender Inequality: An Overview. Policy Research Working Paper 6371, World Bank, Washington, DC.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chi, P.C., P. Bulage, H. Urdal, and J. Sundby. 2015. Perceptions of the Effects of Armed Conflict on Maternal and Reproductive Health Services and Outcomes in Burundi and Northern Uganda: A Qualitative Study. BMC International Health and Human Rights 15 (7): 1–15. Published Online 3 April 2015.
  11. Corby, N., N. O’Farrell, M. Podmore, and C. Sepulveda Zelaya. 2008. Walking the Talk: Putting Women’s Rights at the Heart of the HIV and AIDS Response. London: ActionAid and Voluntary Services Overseas.Google Scholar
  12. Coulter, C., M. Persson, and M. Utas. 2008. Young Female Fighters in African Wars: Conflict and Its Consequences. Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  13. Devlin, C., and R. Elgie. 2008. The Effect of Increased Women’s Representation in Parliament: The Case of Rwanda. Parliamentary Affairs 61 (2): 237–254. Published Online April 2008. Scholar
  14. Dominelli, L. 2002. Feminist Social Work Theory and Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duflo, E. 2012. Women Empowerment and Economic Development. Journal of Economic Literature 50 (4): 1051–1079. Published Online December 2012. Scholar
  16. Ellerby, K. 2016. A Seat at the Table Is Not Enough: Understanding Women’s Substantive Representation in Peace Processes. Peacebuilding 4 (2): 136–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elson, D. 2000. Progress of the World’s Women 2000: UNIFEM Biennial Report. New York: United Nations Development Fund for Women.Google Scholar
  18. Elson, D. 2017. Recognize, Reduce, and Redistribute Unpaid Care Work: How to Close the Gender Gap. New Labor Forum 26 (2): 52–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Esquivel, V. 2013. Care in Households and Communities: Background Paper on Conceptual Issues, Oxfam Research Report. ISBN: 978-1-78077-473-2.Google Scholar
  20. Esquivel, V. 2014. What Is a Transformative Approach to Care, and Why Do We Need It? Gender & Development 22 (3): 423–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fälth, A., and M. Blackden. 2009. Unpaid Care Work. Gender Equality and Poverty Reduction Policy Brief, Issue 1, UNDP, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Ferrant, G., L.M. Pesando, and K. Nowacka. 2014. Unpaid Care Work: The Missing Link in the Analysis of Gender Gaps in Labor Outcomes. Issue Paper, OECD Development Center.Google Scholar
  23. Folbre, N. 2006. Measuring Care: Gender, Empowerment, and the Care Economy. Journal of Human Development 7 (2): 183–199. Published Online 22 January 2007. Scholar
  24. Folbre, N., and J.A. Nelson. 2000. For Love or Money—Or Both? Journal of Economic Perspectives 14 (4): 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gates, S., H. Hegre, H.M. Nygård, and H. Strand. 2012. Development Consequences of Armed Conflict. World Development 40 (9): 1713–1722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ghobarah, H.A., P. Huth, and B. Russett. 2004. The Post-war Public Health Effects of Civil Conflict. Social Science and Medicine 59: 869–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haeri, M., and N. Puechguirbal. 2010. From Helplessness to Agency: Examining the Plurality of Women’s Experiences in Armed Conflict. International Review of the Red Cross 92 (877): 103–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hobbs, M.H., and C. Rice. 2018. Gender and Women’s Studies: Critical Terrain, 2nd ed. Canada: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hudson, H. 2009. Peacebuilding Through a Gender Lens and the Challenges of Implementation in Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire. Security Studies 18 (2): 287–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hudson, H. 2017. The Power of Mixed Messages: Women, Peace, and Security Language in National Action Plans from Africa. Africa Spectrum 52 (3): 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Iwilade, A. 2011. Women and Peace Talks in Africa. Journal of International Women’s Studies 12 (1): 22–37.Google Scholar
  32. Leonard, M. 2003. Women and Development: Examining Gender Issues in Developing Countries. In From the Local to the Global Key Issues in Development Studies, ed. G. McCann and S. McCloskey, 76–92. London and Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  33. Maestre, M., and J. Thorpe. 2016. Understanding Unpaid Care Work to Empower Women in Market Systems Approaches. London: The BEAM Exchange.Google Scholar
  34. Manchanda, R. 2005. Women’s Agency in Peace Building: Gender Relations in Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Economic and Political Weekly 40 (44/45): 4737–4745.Google Scholar
  35. Mindry, D. 2010. Engendering Care: HIV, Humanitarian Assistance in Africa, and the Reproduction of Gender Stereotypes. Culture, Health and Sexuality 12 (5): 555–568. Published Online 4 September 2014. Scholar
  36. Narayan, N. 2017. Contextualizing Unpaid Care Work and Women Empowerment. International Journal of Applied Research 3 (7): 654–659.Google Scholar
  37. Noma, E., D. Aker, and J. Freeman. 2012. Heeding Women’s Voices: Breaking Cycles of Conflict and Deepening the Concept of Peacebuilding. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 7 (1): 7–32. Published Online 25 October 2012. Scholar
  38. Orozco, A.P. 2009. Global Perspectives on the Social Organization of Care in Times of Crisis: Assessing the Situation. Working Paper 5: Gender, Migration and Development Series, United Nations International Research and Training, Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).Google Scholar
  39. Paffenholz, T., N. Ross, S. Dixon, A. Schluchter, and J. True. 2016. Making Women Count—Not Just Counting Women: Assessing Women’s Inclusion and Influence on Peace Negotiations. Geneva: Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative (The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) and UN Women.Google Scholar
  40. Pratt, N., and S. Richter-Devroe. 2011. Critically Examining UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. International Feminist Journal of Politics 13 (4): 489–503. Published Online December 2011. Scholar
  41. Price, J.I., and A.K. Bohara. 2013. Maternal Health Care Amid Political Unrest: The Effect of Armed Conflict on Antenatal Care Utilization in Nepal. Health Policy and Planning 28 (3): 309–319. Published Online 6 December 2012. Scholar
  42. Puechguirbal, N. 2012. The Cost of Ignoring Gender in Conflict and Post Conflict Situations: A Feminist Perspective. Amsterdam Law Forum 4 (1): 4–19. ISSN 1876-8156.Google Scholar
  43. Rao, N. 2018. Global Agendas, Local Norms: Mobilizing Around Unpaid Care and Domestic Work in Asia. Development and Change 49 (3): 735–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Razavi, S. 2007. The Political and Social Economy of Care in a Development Context: Conceptual Issues, Research Questions and Policy Options. Gender and Development, Paper No. 3, UNRISD, Geneva.Google Scholar
  45. Razavi, S. 2012. Rethinking Care in a Development Context: An Introduction. Development and Change 42 (4): 873–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Razavi, S., and S. Silke. 2012. Introduction: Care Workers in the Global Economy: Worlds Apart? In Global Variations in the Political and Social Economy of Care. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Reddy, V., S. Meyer, T. Shefer, and T. Meyiwa. 2014. Towards a Critical Theory of Care. In Care in Context: Transnational Gender Perspectives, ed. V. Reddy, S. Meyer, T. Shefer, and T. Meyiwa, 1–27. Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
  48. Rehn, E., and E.J. Sirleaf. 2002. Women, War and Peace – Experts’ Biographical Sketches. United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
  49. Rehn, E., and E.J. Sirleaf. 2009. Focus: Women, Gender and Armed Conflicts in ADC. Gender Policy.
  50. Rost, L. 2018. Measuring Unpaid Care Work in Household Surveys. Research Report, Oxfam.
  51. Rubery, J. 2015. Regulating for Gender Equality: A Policy Framework to Support the Universal Caregiver Vision. Social Politics 22 (4): 513–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rummery, K., and M. Fine. 2012. Care: A Critical Review of Theory, Policy and Practice. Social Policy & Administration 46 (3): 321–343. Published Online June 2012. Scholar
  53. Rushton, S. 2010. AIDS and International Security in the United Nations System. Health Policy and Planning 25 (6): 495–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ryan, C., and H. Basini. 2017. UNSC Resolution 1325 National Action Plans in Liberia and Sierra Leone: An Analysis of Gendered Power Relations in Hybrid Peacebuilding. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 11 (2): 189–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sebhatu, R.W. 2017. (En)gendering Youth for Gender-Just Peace with UN Security Council Resolution 2250. Gender-Just Peace and Transitional Justice, No. 3, Lund University.Google Scholar
  56. Shulika, L.S., and L. Shulika. 2016. Women and Peace Building: From Historical to Contemporary African Perspectives. Ubuntu: Journal of Conflict Transformation 5 (1): 7–31.Google Scholar
  57. Sikod, Fo. 2007. Gender Division of Labour and Women’s Decision-Making Power in Rural Households in Cameroon. Africa Development XXXII (3): 58–71. Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar.Google Scholar
  58. Siem, F.F. 2017. Leaving Them Behind Healthcare Services in Situations of Armed Conflict. Tidsskrift for Den Norske Legeforening 137 (17): 1341–1343.Google Scholar
  59. Stuart, S. 2014. Situation of Unpaid Work and Gender in the Caribbean: The Measurement of Unpaid Work Through Time—Use Studies. United Nations (ECLAC). Studies and Perspectives Series No. 34, The Caribbean.Google Scholar
  60. Tavero, I.L., E.G. García, J.M. Seda, R.R. Serrano, I.M.C. Cabrera, and A.A. Rodríguez. 2018. The Gender Perspective in the Opinions and Discourse of Women About Caregiving. Rev Esc Enferm USP 52. Published Online 22 October 2018.
  61. Thompson, M. 2006. Women, Gender, and Conflict: Making the Connections. Development in Practice 16 (3/4): 342–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tønnessen, L., and S. Al-Nagar. 2013. The Women’s Quota in Conflict Ridden Sudan: Ideological Battles for and Against Gender Equality. Women’s Studies International Forum 41 (2): 122–131. Published Online November 2013. Scholar
  63. UNDP. 2015. Imbalances in Paid and Unpaid Work. Chapter 4 in UNDP Human Development Report 2015, Work for Human Development, New York.Google Scholar
  64. UNSCR. 2000. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (S/Res/1325). New York: United Nations.
  65. UNSCR. 2008. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820 on Women, Peace and Security (2008).
  66. UN—United Nations. 2009. Security Council Urges Renewed Measures to Improve Women’s Participation in Peace Processes, Reaffirming Key Role Women Can Play in Rebuilding War-Torn Societies. Security Council Meeting SC/9759, 5 October 2009.Google Scholar
  67. UN—United Nations. 2010. The World’s Women 2010: Trends and Statistics. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division, New York, Sales No. E.10.XVII.11.
  68. WHO. 2011. World Report on Disability 2011, World Health Organization, Malta.
  69. Woodroffe, J., and K. Donald. 2014. Unpaid Care: A Priority for the Post-2015 Development Goals and Beyond. Gender and Development Network, Briefings 6.Google Scholar
  70. Yavorsky, J.E., C.M. Kamp-Dush, and S.J. Schoppe-Sullivan. 2015. The Production of Inequality: The Gender Division of Labor Across the Transition to Parenthood. Journal of Marriage & Family 77 (3): 662–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zembylas, M., V. Bozalek, and T. Shefer. 2014. Tronto’s Notion of Privileged Irresponsibility and the Re-conceptualization of Care: Implications for Critical Pedagogies of Emotion in Higher Education Gender and Education.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fatma Osman Ibnouf
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KhartoumKhartoumSudan

Personalised recommendations