Estimates of the amount of unpaid care work performed by women and men now garner international attention, but while analysis of existing surveys has yielded important insights, it has also revealed significant limitations. Because unpaid care work has not traditionally been considered “work,” the wording of survey questions designed to capture it is often problematic and devote scant attention to time constraints that do not take the form of specific activities.
The Global Centre of Excellence on Gender Statistics (CEGS) in collaboration with the Women Count programme, commissioned a study on the difficulties of accurately measuring direct unpaid care for dependents in an effort to support countries to improve the use and harmonization of time use surveys to quantify care. The resulting comparisons powerfully demonstrate the need for improvement and harmonization of time use survey instruments. They also offer valuable opportunities to learn from specific design successes and failures.