On March 15, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Head of Delegation to the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), gave opening remarks during a Side Event entitled “Valuing Unpaid Work and Caregiving,” which the Holy See sponsored at the UN together with the Catholic Women’s Forum of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
In his remarks, Archbishop Auza said that that it is highly fitting that the international community is committed to recognizing and valuing unpaid care and domestic work, since for far too longer unremunerated work in the home has not been given the esteem it deserves. But he wondered, based on recent U.N. documents calling on women’s share in this work to be reduced and redistributed to men and social service agencies, and referring to it above all as a “burden,” how much recognition and value it is really being accorded. He said that looking at this work as a burden to be lessened seems to be based on three presumptions: that a person’s work outside the home is far more valuable than work within the home; that women have no greater gifts in caring for their loved ones than men or unrelated caregivers; and that there is a built-in antagonism in the relationship between women and men and that the advancement of women must come through reapportioning burdensome activities back to men and seeking and taking power, understood primarily in economic, political and legal terms. He said that the situation is complex, but should begin by acknowledging the objective importance of caregiving and the need to readjust the rules of the marketplace to what society recognizes is the enormous personal and social value of such work, to which humanity owes its future.
The statement can be found here.