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This report exposes the devastating impact public sector cuts are having on women in low-income countries, who face a triple threat of losing access to services, having fewer opportunities to access decent work, and being forced to take on the rising burden of unpaid care work. This report also highlights how the International Monetary Fund’s policy advice around austerity, and massive cuts to public spending, are exacerbating gender inequality. 

It draws on recent research that found that 85% of the world’s population will be living in the grips of stringent austerity measures by next year. Austerity measures include cutting or freezing the wages and numbers of teachers, health workers, and other public sector workers. The drive to cut public budgets and public sector wage bills has been going on for decades, but the report shows these policies have no credible evidence base. Their effects, though, are devastating, blocking recruitment of nurses, care workers, doctors, and teachers in many countries, even where there are desperate shortages, and blocking pay increases even where workers are on very low pay.

As an alternative, The Care Contradiction lays out a bigger vision of a feminist, just alternative to the cult of austerity and an agenda that builds economies and societies based on care. This means moving beyond GDP growth to put human rights and care at the center of economic objectives and indicators.

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Author: Roos Saalbrink
Design and layout:
Date published: October 2022
Number of pages: 48