Over the past 10 years, unpaid care and domestic work (UCDW) has received significantly increased attention from economic policymakers. UCDW can be defined as those household services performed by household members for the direct use of other household members that for technical reasons are still not adequately captured in measures of GDP and work. These services include household maintenance activities such as cooking, cleaning, washing and household sanitation activities, care activities performed for children and the elderly, household health care, and informal education and skills building that takes place within the home. UCDW has received increased attention from economic policymakers because it affects development and growth.
According to a review of the literature, the heavy and unequal burden of UCDW on women in Vietnam prevents many working-age women from obtaining paid work and access to decent work. As Vietnam’s population ages¹, the burden of unpaid elder care increases, which disproportionately affects women. Meanwhile, population aging requires increased female labour market participation, including increased working hours and productivity, if Vietnam is to significantly increase GDP per capita and achieve its ambitions of becoming an upper-middle income and high-income country by 2025 and 2045, respectively.
The review of the literature also reveals that the findings of existing studies are not nationally representative of the Vietnamese population as a whole, nor of ethnic minorities in particular. Meanwhile, when deciding between paid and unpaid care work, women in more developed UCDW markets, particularly large urban areas, face fewer constraints than their counterparts in ethnic
minority areas. Gender and ethnic disparities are thus intertwined, reinforcing one another. This highlights the importance of conducting an in-depth investigation into the UCDW issue in an ethnicity-sensitive manner.
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