Care economy

Strengthening Capacity to Promote Gender-Responsive Investments in the Provision of Decent Care Services in Thailand

The Care Economy Project gears toward the achievement of gender equality as described in SDGs 5.4 and 8.5 through recognizing, reducing, and redistributing unpaid care duties as they are shouldered mainly by women. The project works on 3 pillars: gender equality; skill development and recognition; and social security and protection.

A caregiver enjoys working with a woman on wheelchair. © Shutterstock


Women in Thailand perform over 3 times as much unpaid care work as men (ILO, 2019). In particular, women are drawn out of the labour force for family responsibilities, caring for children and aging family members, what is even more impactful in a fast-ageing society. Further, COVID-19 has hit women harder – and has increased unpaid care burdens due to lockdowns, home schooling, and so on. With a lack of publicly funded, accessible, affordable and skilled care options, most families adopt one of two strategies: redistributing care burdens to other women or if they can afford it, hiring domestic workers in informal working conditions, without adequate skills, pay or social protection. Care infrastructure investments are required to provide collective, accessible, professional and sustainable solutions to support families to manage unpaid care duties alongside work. Further, promoting a comprehensive approach to care economy in Thailand proposes a ‘build back better’ solution, and potentially generates new jobs. This work builds on ongoing efforts to expand social security coverage to informal care workers and by improving skills and working conditions.


The project aims to collaborate with the Constituents and provide support in the following areas:
  • Identification of strategic focus where efforts can be directed to achieve the national level priorities and gender-responsive policies on care economy in childcare and long-term care.
  • Institutional capacity building and development of innovative skills programs, including skills anticipation, blended digital and green learning programmes for childcare and long-term care services, with a focus on vulnerable women care workers, upgrading their skills, accreditation and recognition of learning.
  • Development of comprehensive analysis of coverage gaps, cost investments, opportunities for employment creation, and assessing respective options for financing and leading to a step-by-step plan for future childcare and long-term care infrastructure investments.
  • Review of related legislations and identification of gaps, allowing domestic workers, including those working as care service providers to be integrated under the social security mandatory provision and other potential social security and social protection schemes. A gender-responsive study and policy dialogue on costing and funding modalities would be an important contribution to this dialogue.