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published: 18 June 2020

The largely invisible work of unpaid care-cleaning, preparing meals, and looking after children, has always fallen disproportionately on women. But while entrenched gender roles have slowly broken down over decades, the ongoing global pandemic may be causing this progress to backslide.

A recent study by Oxfam showed that close to half of the women surveyed in five countries felt more anxious, depressed, isolated, overworked, or ill as a result of these heightened responsibilities.

With the closure of schools, nurseries, and support services, community lockdowns have increased the demand for domestic care work.

In the Philippines specifically, more than half of women reported increases in unpaid care work during the pandemic. Eighteen percent found themselves unable to do their usual paid work because of new domestic responsibilities.

Prior to the pandemic, Filipino women’s unpaid work was already worth an estimated 2 trillion PHP or $40 billion, or roughly 20 percent of the nation’s GDP, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

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