2nd shift – REST/PRIVACY


Unpaid care and housework were considered to be a task for women. As the reality is slowly changing, do you think that in the long future there can be a reverse of roles and women be in majority in the main industry sectors?

68. Leather worker with his family. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.


Considering the ageing of the population, the need for taking care of our elders and the challenges associated will increase. What would be the consequences of this demographic change? How should they be addressed?

69. Last known picture of an industrialist, died in 1953, taken during the socialist era. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Unpaid care work means the set of tasks and services performed within a certain household, an external household and/or the community. Unpaid care work is considered a preferable term when compared to domestic labour (which can be paid or unpaid) or reproductive work (which can refer to unpaid care work regarding taking care of children but also giving birth and breastfeeding) and housework (which can also be subcontracted by an employer or unpaid).

Since the early stages of the Industrial Revolution to today, women accumulated paid work, resulting from their professional occupation, with an uneven share of unpaid work.

The use of the correct terminology is, in this case, very important: unpaid – no remuneration is received; care – caring for or serving people and their wellbeing; work – even if it is not remunerated the activity has time and energy costs and results from socially and culturally imposed obligations or contractual obligations (i.e. marriage).

Generally, and in almost all parts of the world women take on most of the unpaid care work share with impact to their access to employment, resulting in gender gaps in terms of participation, representation and also payment. The distribution of unpaid care work is a translation of the traditional understandings on the division of labour and gender inequality.

The EU has been focusing on tackling this inequality through policies and legislation on education, family protection and benefits, and work-life-balance promotion.