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Women's Economic Empowerment and Care (WE-Care)

Le Thi Ban, a shop keeper from Tra Vinh Province, Southern Viet nam. Credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

At a glance

Our work on care aims to find solutions to the challenge of providing effective care whilst also ensuring women's rights.


WE-Care (Women's Economic Empowerment and Care) is an initiative to make care work more visible and address it as a factor influencing gender equality. Our goal is to join with others to build solutions to the centuries-old challenge of providing effective care for people whilst also ensuring women's human rights.

Why is Oxfam interested in care work?

Care has long been considered to be the natural responsibility of women, as a result of which the costs of providing care fall disproportionately on women. Women's unpaid care work has recently been recognised as a major human rights issue. Women, especially those living in poverty, face heavy and unequal care responsibilities which impede efforts to promote gender equality and women's equal enjoyment of human rights.

What does this look like? Read about our infographics on unpaid care work

Our aims

As a precondition for achieving women's political, social and economic empowerment, and for overcoming poverty, Oxfam aims to bring about the following changes in care work:

  • Increase the recognition of care
  • Reduce the drudgery of care work
  • Redistribute responsibility for care more equitably between women and men and between households and the state/employers.

The initiative will facilitate improving the design and impact of selected programme interventions to address care work. Working with others, Oxfam will use programme evidence and experience to influence governments, donors, companies  and Oxfam staff and partners in order to recognise and address care as a development issue.

Rapid Care Analysis

Oxfam has developed a Rapid Care Analysis (RCA) to assess context-specific patterns of unpaid household work and care of people. 

Designed to integrate into existing tools on livelihoods, food, security or vulnerability, it makes visible how care responsibility impacts women's time, health or mobility, and identifies practical interventions to help ensure that women can participate fully in and benefit equally from development programmes.

Download the Rapid Care Analysis.

Watch the Rapid Care Analysis introduction

The methodology and initial findings of our Rapid Care Analysis tool. Available in English and Spanish 

The Bigger Picture Project

Thalia and Jane talk to the Bigger Picture Project about unpaid care work in rural development.

Unpaid care in Bangladesh

The eradication of poverty and promoting women's human rights depends on recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid care work.

Unequal care responsibilities in pictures