How does caregiving fit into TIME’S UP’s mission?

Caregiving, Equity, Paid Leave, Public Policy, Public Policy

happy senior patient with friendly female caregiving professional

Why is caregiving one of the most important issues that TIME’S UP is addressing head-on?  

Because the embedded historical roots of caregiving have reinforced the reality care work is undervalued, underpaid, and seen as someone else’s responsibility. A woman’s responsibility. Black women, Latinx women, and Asian women’s responsibilities. That narrative is beginning to shift, and we are proud to be in the fight. 

The mission at TIME’S UP—safe, fair, dignified, equitable work for women of all kinds—relies on the foundation of caregiving support. Caregiving is a gender, economic, and racial justice issue. When women are forced to reduce their hours, or forced out of the job market altogether due to increased care needs, the economy suffers. 

TIME’S UP recognizes the urgent need to address caregiving on two fronts: 

  1. A public investment in high-quality, dignified care work. We must value and invest in the caregiving workforce to ensure dignified work and living wages.
  2. A spotlight on the alarming rate of women reducing their hours and being pushed out of the labor market to provide support and services for children and aging, ill, or disabled family members. 

How COVID-19 has impacted the care economy and widened the gap

The COVID-19 crisis surfaced and exacerbated many gender inequality issues. Caregiving—and a lack of access to—has emerged as a devastating crisis:

  • Women are leaving and have left the workforce in droves. We have lost three decades of progress. In February 2021, women’s labor force participation rate dropped to 55.8%, the same as in April 1987. This is not just a loss for women; it’s a loss for the private sector. For companies who have invested in building talent.  
  • Investing in care workers. The caregiving industry historically has been populated by Black, Brown, and Asian women. It is critical to make sure these women are being paid fair wages and are in safe, dignified workplaces. 

Caregiving and the ideal worker

Research has found that the bias and preference toward the ideal worker, who can come to the office at 8 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m., is for men. Men have been able to devote their lives to work, because women have historically taken on caregiving work. The idea that “work demands our complete attention, allegiance, and sacrifice” is out of date and impractical. And it continues to set women back, particularly women of color.  

Caregiving is infrastructure

Investing in caregiving will increase equity and support the economy, and the latest facts underscore the urgent need to robustly invest in the full range of caregiving policies, including child care, paid leave, and home- and community-based supports. Congress must act now to pass the Build Back Better Act. Caregivers—both paid and unpaid—need and deserve for these policies to thrive.  

It’s Time to Care—Further Resources:

Learn more about how TIME’S UP is changing the conversation and about our dedicated resources shaping the conversations on the caregiving narrative.