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Written on 17 Jul 2020 by Professor Diane Coyle

Why did It take a pandemic to show how much unpaid work women do?

Professor Diane Coyle suggests ways to change course to reduce inequality of income for women, in her article published in The New York Times. Cleaning the house and taking care of children has real economic value, and women have been doing it for free for too long.

Professor Coyle's opinion piece was published in the The New York Times on 26 June 2020. She comments:

...households in lockdown are spending many more hours on the unpaid domestic work of cooking, cleaning and child care. Women seem to be disproportionately bearing the extra burden. In addition to their doing more of the unpaid work at home, their economically valuable work outside the home is suffering, as they are forced to substitute unpaid work for paid work — reversing a decades-long trend.

It will take more than policies... for us to learn how to value what is truly worthwhile in the economy. Monetary transactions alone are an incomplete measure of economic value.

Prof David Runciman and Prof Helen Thompson interview Prof Coyle about her article in Talking Politics, Whose Work is it Anyway?

  • About the author

    Professor Diane Coyle, Inaugural Bennett Professor of Public Policy

    Professor Coyle co-directs the Institute with Professor Kenny. She is heading research under the progress and productivity themes.   Learn more

    Diane Coyle 2018