Time Use Study in the Country in 2022 zeroes in on unpaid care work


A key development issue in many countries worldwide, unpaid care work is an essential aspect of economic activity and an indispensable factor contributing to the well-being of individuals, their families, and societies. 

This is outlined in the UNDP report of the compilation of a commissioned Time Use Study in the Country in 2022. 

Every day, individuals cook, clean, and care for children, the ill, and the elderly. Despite its importance for well-being, unpaid care work is commonly left out of policy agendas because it is considered women’ work. 

A misperception exists that it is too difficult to measure and less relevant for policies. Yet, neglecting unpaid care leads to incorrect interpretations about levels and changes in individuals’ well-being and the time invested by carers, which limits policy effectiveness across a range of socio-economic areas, notably gender inequalities in employment and other areas of their economic empowerment. 

Sustainable Development Goal 5 includes a specific target to recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work.

 To help build the required understanding of what unpaid care work means in Samoa and generate evidence, UNDP commissioned a time-use study in 2022 to provide insights into the relevance of gender-sensitive time-use considerations in developing development interventions. 

It resulted from evaluating a previous UNDP project activity implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) to promote the Small Business Incubator initiative, providing small-scale financing support to families through MWCSD’s Youth Employment Programme. 

The evaluation recommended undertaking further research to understand how time dedicated to unpaid care and household work may affect families and/or individuals’ ability to apply for and absorb financing support and/or how the extra financing may impact the provision of care (and time dedicated to it) within the household of beneficiaries and in their communities. 

The Time Use Study was conducted on a limited scale in Upolu and Savaii to develop a tool that can be integrated into monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of future activities of a similar nature. 

The report provides insights into the relevance of gender-sensitive time-use considerations, which they hope will sensitize local communities and national-level decision-makers to the multidimensional impact of the gendered responsibility of unpaid household and care work, generate debate and encourage consideration of unpaid care and domestic work impacts across Government policies and programmes.