CARE IS ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE : The Case of the Philippines

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CARE IS ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE : The Case of the Philippines

Research Brief

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the dependence of our societies on systems of care and caregiving to survive and thrive. This support system, however, has been mostly unpaid if not totally unrecognized for far too long. Its resulting negative effects have disproportionately affected women and girls around the world, especially in the Global South.

Oxfam has actively worked on context-specific evidence on care work by engaging with communities, governments, the private sector, and civil society through its Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care (WE-Care) Program since 2013.
This research is part of Oxfam’s ongoing reflection and work on care that examines conversations and debates on care infrastructure and care infrastructure investments in the Philippines. The study also discusses the connection between care infrastructure investments macro-level socioeconomic policies and civil society initiatives. Through four case stories, the research outlines examples of care infrastructure (non) investments and their influence on women’s economic empowerment.

To examine (non)investments in care infrastructure is to understand how key actors of the society and community members understand and pay attention to it. Conscientization is vital in this regard since it opens up pathways to transform our consciousness concerning care. Continuously educating the population about care and why we need to value care can define clear demands surrounding care infrastructure investments. Otherwise, the public-private divide on care provision and the deeply ingrained binary perspectives on sex and gender roles in care will continue because we are socio-culturally conditioned to accept it.