Issues of poverty and inequality are never far from the work of Oxfam whose latest report is on the world-wide care economy. According to the report, published by Oxfam GB, “economic inequality is out of control”. Nowhere is this more patent than with gender inequality.
The report picks up on the huge population, mainly women, involved in caring for others, whether children, the elderly or the disabled, who receive no income for their labours. Another large group of women are those who labour, usually for a pittance, working as domestic workers without contracts and usually for lengthy hours each day.
In Peru, they are represented by the Federación de Trabajadores del Hogar which has nearly half a million affiliates. According to Leddy Mozambite, the federation’s president, “home workers, whether paid or not, are those who enable others to study, work and realise their lives economically”.
“Unfortunately, capitalism promotes and profits from sexist beliefs that deprive women of autonomy” says Oxfam. According to Armando Mendoza from Oxfam’s Lima office the gender pay gap is as wide as it was ten years ago. “The salary gap has not narrowed” he is quoted as saying. One reason for this is that there have been no public policies geared towards recognition that the care economy contributes to the economy as a whole.