Caring for children, the elderly, and sick relatives, as well as household chores, is largely undertaken by women without monetary compensation nor notional economic value ascribed. As a consequence, the economic value of these activities is not reflected in the country’s budgets, nor taken into consideration in planning or policy design.
CAPRI in partnership with the European Union is undertaking a study on low labour productivity and unpaid care work in Jamaica. Jamaican women play many roles in social reproduction which are not market-oriented and consequently do not appear in national statistics. This includes the bulk of household and voluntary/community work. The outputs and outcomes associated with these social reproduction activities redound to the benefit of the family, the community and the country as a whole and make an important contribution to national development, but at an opportunity cost to women’s participation in the labour market.
While Jamaica is no stranger to the core concepts of the care economy it has not met its commitments to a host of international agreements that pledge to address the care economy, including and perhaps most significantly the Global Goals which are incorporated into Jamaica’s own national development plan Vision 2030.
It is against this background that CAPRI seeks to explore and better understand the care economy in Jamaica, with the objective of providing policy proposals that are suited to the particular circumstances and characteristics of Jamaica at the present juncture.