Care work, defined by the International Labor Organization as “consisting of activities and relations involved in meeting the physical, psychological and emotional needs of adults and children, old and young, frail and able-bodied,” has historically and overwhelmingly been undertaken by women worldwide in their roles as wives, mothers, and daughters. Care work can either be paid—through education, health, social care, and domestic work sectors—or unpaid. Unpaid care work typically includes the direct care or supervision of persons (primarily children, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and persons with chronic illnesses), housework that facilitates the care of persons, and food shopping, among other activities. While these actions are not always viewed as “work,” the “third-person” criterion defines work as activities for which a third person could be compensated, and as such, these behaviors are considered as work.

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