Care Economies in Context

Facts and Context Project Profiles

Country Profile: Care Economy in Colombia

In Colombia, the majority of care provision occurs in the family, with women undertaking most of the care work. Despite significant progress towards achieving gender equality in education and in the labour market, women’s labour force participation rates continue to hover around 60%. Of those women outside the labour force, 36% explained they were not working because they needed to take care of a family member.

According to the last Time Use Survey for Colombia, women bear the majority of the burden of unpaid domestic and care work, with 9 out of 10 women performing these tasks compared to only 6 out of 10 men. Women spend over 8 hours per day on domestic and care work, while men spend only around 3 hours. This disparity is consistent across different income, education, and age levels and is even more pronounced when women have children.

Perceptions about gender roles uphold the unequal distribution of household care, with around 70% of people believing that women are most suitable for domestic work. Because 90% of people also believe that both genders should contribute to household income, women bear a double burden of paid work and household care.

Paid care services are in short supply in Colombia. According to data available for 2018, on average, in the 23 main cities in Colombia, there were 6 full-time care workers for every 100 people who required care. These numbers are, in fact, declining. In the 23 largest cities in Colombia, the number of full-time government employees in care activities slid from 2.4 for every 100 people who require care in 2008 to 2.0 in 2018.

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