Feminist Economists - Major Areas of Inquiry - Unpaid Work

Unpaid Work

Unpaid work can include domestic work, care work, subsistence work, unpaid market labor and voluntary work. There is no clear consensus on the definition of these categories. But broadly speaking, these kinds of work can be seen as contributing to the reproduction of society.

Domestic work is maintenance of the home, and is usually universally recognizable, e.g. doing the laundry. Care work is looking "after a relative or friend who needs support because of age, physical or learning disability, or illness, including mental illness;" this also includes raising children. Care work also involves "close personal or emotional interaction." Also included in this category is "self-care," in which leisure time and activities are included. Subsistence work is work done in order to meet basic needs, such as collecting water, but does not have market values assigned to it. Although some of these efforts "are categorized as productive activities according to the latest revision of the international System of National Accounts (SNA) ... are poorly measured by most surveys." Unpaid market work is "the direct contributions of unpaid family members to market work that officially belongs to another member of the household." Voluntary work is usually work done for non-household members, but in return for little to no remuneration.

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