BUSINESS + ECONOMY

New data shows women provide more unpaid care than men

Jul 3, 2024, 5:00 AM

A new study shows women provide more unpaid care than men, especially in Utah....

A new study shows women provide more unpaid care than men, especially in Utah. (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — New data from the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University shows that women provide more unpaid care than men, but that gap is even bigger in Utah compared to the rest of the nation. 

The data

Nationally, women spent 4.5 hours of unpaid work everyday, compared to 2.75 hours a day for men.

In Utah, the gap is 5.55 hours for women and 3.22 hours for men.

The study states that the monetary value of women’s unpaid work is around $10.8 trillion every year. That’s according to Oxfam, a global organization fighting women’s inequality.

The study said 61.4% of caregivers to elderly relatives are women. Nearly 23% report spending more than 20 hours per week providing care, 97% of that work is unpaid.

What is ‘unpaid’ care?

Dr. Susan Madsen, Director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University says unpaid work includes childcare, elder care, housework and other tasks. 

“Even if their working the same number of paid hours in the workforce, women still do significantly more unpaid care work than do men,” she said.

Madsen said it’s not surprising that women in Utah prioritize the work of caring for children or the elderly. But the disparity of unpaid labor between men and women can have negative consequences, including making women financially vulnerable.

The importance of ‘changing attitudes’

Madsen says changing the disparity starts with changing attitudes.

“If the man is doing, you know, working with his children, everyone’s like ‘what a good dad!’ But women don’t get that!” she said. “Often you’re just trained and socialized as women to do certain things… And men don’t do nearly as much emotional labor as women. Those are things like worrying about your kids, or having to plan all the details.”

Read more: Women in state leadership roles increasing in Utah

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New data shows women provide more unpaid care than men