Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating women’s achievements, to educate and raise awareness for women’s equality and call for positive change advancing women.
The 2021 census revealed there were approximately 3.0 million female unpaid carers and approximately 2.0 million male unpaid carers.
Women are the glue holding society together and often take on two simultaneous caring roles. They may be caring for an elderly parent or a partner with cancer, while also proving care to their own child who has a learning disability. Today is a day to celebrate these amazing women who often sacrifice their own needs. But today is also about inequality and what we can do better.
Gender-based Inequalities in the Workplace
The Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) has conducted a survey, What Women Want and found that women do most unpaid care work for adults, with one in five women reducing their hours and 830,000 unable to work entirely because they cared for an adult.
More women than ever are participating in the labour market, at the same time, women continue to shoulder most of the unpaid care work in our families.
Working-aged women contribute an estimated 200 million days’ worth of adult care each year.
CPP has demonstrated that these caring demands are detrimental to both individual women, and to the wider workforce. What Women Want finds that 830,000 women who provide care for an adult are unable to work entirely on account of their care responsibilities:
- One in four (26%) women providing unpaid care to a child had reduced their hours at work
- One in five (20%) women providing childcare are prevented from working more hours, despite wanting to work more
- One in five (20%) women providing unpaid care for an adult reduced their hours at work.
CPP’s research has found that millions of women want to work more hours, if only they had more flexible working opportunities. What Women Want shows that more flexible working would deliver significant benefits to women, boosting the earnings of female carers by £28.4bn per annum, delivering new working opportunities for up to 5 million women and an overall boost to the UK economy of over £60bn per annum.
Did You Know?
On average in the UK 1 in 7 workers also provides unpaid care for a relative. Without support, 600 employees quit work each day due to the challenges of juggling work and care. With the average age of taking on caring responsibilities being 45 – 64 years, it’s likely these are some of your most valued and senior staff. Being Carer Friendly makes great business sense.
What Can Employers Do?
Forward Carers recommends all organisations have a trained Carer Friendly Workplace Champion to support colleagues who are balancing work and an unpaid caring role. The Carer Aware training will raise awareness of working Carers and help you to understand the culture and practices needed to retain your staff.
Training is delivered by our trusted partner RightTrack Learning who have been designing and delivering high-impact training solutions for more than three decades and are specialists in building truly inclusive workplaces.
Our Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark certifies employers who offer outstanding support to their staff who balance work and a caring role.
What are the business benefits?
By undertaking steps to develop Carer Friendly practices to support your staff who juggle work and a caring role, you can:
- improve retention
- reduce absence
- and increase productivity