Valuing Unpaid Caring Work in Australia Research Project

Younger woman hugging an older woman

The Australian Human Rights Commission is focused on addressing sex discrimination and promoting gender equality in Australia – and ensuring the economic and financial security of all women. 

In 2009, The Commission examined the gender gap in retirement savings in a report on Accumulating Poverty? Women’s experiences of inequality over the lifecycle.  The report identified three strategies to redress women’s disadvantage in the current retirement income system including recognising and rewarding unpaid caring work in the retirement income system. 

The aim of this latest project is to address a critical research gap that exists in Australia by:

  • examining the nature of unpaid caring work in Australia and the barriers it creates for women’s equal participation in the workforce;

  • identifying and analysing the different models and measures of valuing unpaid work and assessing the possible impact of such measures on the gender gap in retirement savings; and

  • Identifying and assessing the contemporary mechanisms in the workplace that support caring work.

This significant and innovative research will:

  • identify models for reforms that will properly recognise and compensate those who undertake unpaid caring work,

  • inform evidence-based development of employment and retirement income strategies (e.g. workplace entitlements, flexible workplaces, superannuation reforms); and

  • provide valuable information for policy and law-makers, academics and other opinion makers.

Research Partners

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission has engaged the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of NSW to undertake research. The SPRC conducts research on all aspects of social policy and contributes to policy development and evaluation. The project is funded by The Westpac Group.

This nine-month project commenced January 2012.

Download a fact sheet about the project

Click here to read more about caring in Australia – and what we all have in common