Toward a Resilient Care Ecosystem in Asia and the Pacific
There is growing recognition that care work is both a ubiquitous and critical social and economic activity. Globally, care providers support over one billion people, including children, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. While some are paid for this work, most are women from marginalized backgrounds who are unpaid or poorly paid and lack the support needed to deliver high-quality care and maintain healthy, inclusive societies. Although interest in the care economy is growing, few examples of concrete action exist, particularly within the Asia-Pacific region. The region is home to diverse societies with different cultures and income levels, and understanding and solving the challenges of care provision and workers is critical. This is especially important following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which exposed the fragility and inadequacy of the global care infrastructure, leading to an uneven economic recovery that remains highly vulnerable to future shocks.
Together with partners and experts from the region, The Asia Foundation led the development of a white paper to synthesize key insights that relate to the role of governments, markets and the private sector, civil society, and households and families in meeting care needs in the region. The paper delves into issues of paid vs. unpaid care, formal vs. informal care workers, and care infrastructure. By evaluating and elevating promising interventions for governments and other actors, this paper served as a foundation to foster evidence-based discussion at the Bali Care Economy Dialogue and a collaborative agenda for action to build a resilient care economy throughout Asia and the Pacific.