Flanders co-finances global report on women in the care sector


In keeping with the 2016 co-operation agreement with the International Labor Organization, Flanders helped fund a two-year research project into the place of women in badly paid or voluntary labour in the care sector

More than 75% of unpaid care falls to women and girls

Kris Dierckx, general representative of the government of Flanders to the UN, was at the launch last week of the findings of the Care Report, a health-care survey of more than 90 countries. The survey was carried out by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Flanders co-financed the report as part of its ongoing co-operation with the ILO. Two years ago, Flanders signed a new collaboration agreement with the ILO, with a focus on the position of women and young people.

The Geneva-based ILO, which brings together governments, employers and workers, has been helping to improve labour standards throughout the world for nearly 100 years. The agreement commits Flanders to support of at least €900,000 every two years for projects that contribute to increasing social benefits and championing dignified work.

In much of the world, women are employed in low-skilled and badly paid jobs with little access to training or social benefits. At the same time, they often have to undertake unpaid work such as caring for family members.

Improving the health of women

One of the first objectives was to record and address the unpaid and voluntary work done by women in the care sector. Flanders earmarked €400,000 on projects that ensure that caring for children and the elderly in their communities, for example, is actually recognised as work.

“Women and young people hold a central position not only in our collaboration with the ILO but also in our support of UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation,” said minister-president Geert Bourgeois at the time. “Thanks to our support for these three organisations, we are improving the health of women, and we are also helping them find dignified work.”

The collaboration agreement, he continued, “is an important step towards a more co-ordinated, focused and coherent policy regarding the international organisations that are important to Flanders”.

Photo courtesy United Nations Development Programme