Barbados to Measure Unpaid Domestic and Care Work


Presentation of tablets to BSS by Isiuwa Iyahen, Deputy Representative of UN Women MCO Caribbean

(2nd right) Ms. Isiuwa Iyahen - Deputy Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean presenting android tablets to (2nd left) Mr. Aubrey Browne, Director of the Barbados Statistical Service as UN Women MCO ICT Officer – Mr. Jawara Wells (right) and BSS IT Officer, (left) Mr Taurean Hall look on. UN Women Photo/Denise Russell


For the first time, Barbados will collect data that measures unpaid domestic and care work, making it the second country in the Caribbean to participate in a regional pilot aimed at determining the contribution of unpaid domestic care work to the economy.

The Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) and UN Women Multi-Country Office (MCO) - Caribbean have partnered to implement this initiative, introducing targeted questions to the Continuous Labour Force Survey. This data will offer insight into the distribution of household responsibilities that women and men share within their home and family networks.

Unpaid care work constitutes almost half of total global work time. It sustains families and communities on a day-to-day basis. Absence of this data means that the work and its contribution to the economy remains unrecognised. UN Women data shows that globally, women spend 2.8 more hours on unpaid care and domestic work than men.

Deputy Representative, UN Women MCO – Caribbean, Isiuwa Iyahen said: "We know the figures globally, but we need to fill this critical data gap in the region. From a socio-economic standpoint, the more women engage in unpaid work, the less time they have to engage in paid employment, pursue entrepreneurship or even have moments of leisure, which is a fundamental right. The first step in closing that gap is first understanding the extent or prevalence.”

Availability of this region-specific data can also inform policies that address access to services that can support gender equitable distribution of unpaid care work within the home and society; such as services for childcare, eldercare and care for persons with disabilities and parental leave for both women and men.

In January, the BSS and UN Women consultants trained enumerators on the objectives of the new questions on unpaid care and domestic work for them to in turn support those who would be participating in the survey. The Barbados unpaid care work data collection is part of the UN Joint Programme “Integrated Population Data and Policy Solutions for SDGs Acceleration in Barbados and Montserrat funded by the UN SDG Fund. UN Women also funded three (3) enumerators who will assist with the collection of this data and provided six (6) android tablets through this programme. The SDG Fund programme is being implemented by UN Women MCO Caribbean and UNFPA.

Labour Force Surveys are one of the primary national household surveys conducted by countries to obtain official national statistics on the labour force, unemployment and employment. Barbados, and other signatories to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs are able to use this information to track progress on SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth); and SDG 5 (Gender Equality).


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About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations (UN) organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girl.

Project Background:
UN Women is a Participating UN Organisation in the UN Joint Programme “Integrated Population Data and Policy Solutions for SDGs Acceleration in Barbados and Montserrat”, supported by the UN SDG Fund in collaboration with the governments of the two participating countries. The SDG Joint Programme aims to facilitate increased access, availability and completeness of quality, real-time disaggregated spatial and demographic data and gender analysis for evidence-based national sustainable development policies and programmes in Barbados and Montserrat.

Data on time spent on unpaid care work is sparse in CARICOM, which can limit regional progression toward the SDGs. At the 40th CARICOM Council of Ministers for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), the COHSOD agreed with the recommendations by Member States to introduce questions on unpaid care and domestic work in their national surveys and censuses. UN Women is supporting this development of a region-specific methodology/approach to measuring Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 5.4.1, and to “Recognize and Value Unpaid Care and Promote Shared Domestic Responsibilities.”

About the Barbados Statistical Service
The Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) is a department in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment. Its mandate is to provide reliable and timely key economic and social statistics which decision makers and other users need. The BSS is bound by law and currently the Statistics Act (Cap. 192).

The Continuous Labour Force Sample Survey (CLFSS) as undertaken by the BSS (by law, under the provisions of the Statistics Act CAP 192) collects on a continuous, quarterly basis current socio-economic data from persons in randomly selected households across Barbados. It obtains data on the adult population, 15 years and over, who may be in the Labour Force (employed and unemployed) or classified as Inactive (i.e. not in the Labour Force). It covers the civilian non-institutional population of the island.

Results will only be produced in aggregated format, which would not allow any details on individuals to be revealed. Thus, confidentiality of data on individuals will be strictly observed.