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Global Agendas, Local Norms: Mobilizing around Unpaid Care and Domestic Work in Asia

Nitya Rao

Development and Change, 2018, vol. 49, issue 3, 735-758

Abstract: This article explores the articulation and framing of unpaid care work and the mobilization around it at two spatial scales, the global and national. For the latter it focuses on three of the largest and most diverse countries in Asia — India, China and Indonesia. While the concept of unpaid care work has received considerable attention in international development discourse, it is rarely found in feminist mobilization and advocacy across these countries. The article asks why this issue remains largely excluded from women's political agendas. It also explores how it is framed when it is included. While most organizations recognize women's double burden and the importance of domestic labour, they do not consider ‘unpaid care work’ as a legitimate political issue around which to mobilize. Rather, it is framed, if at all, as part of other political agendas, such as the rights of the elderly (in China), the rights to social protection, especially childcare and maternity entitlements (in India), or the right to equal opportunities within marriage (in Indonesia). The study analyses the differences in framing, the conceptualization of gender equality embedded therein, and the implications for policy.

Date: 2018
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