Caring about Care

Detail from Gulch 2006 by Terry Ngamandara Wilson.jpg
Author/editor: Klein, E, Hunt, J, Staines, Z et al
Publisher: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Year published: 2023
Issue no.: 7


This report presents the findings of research that aimed to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner’s work on Wiyi Yani U Thangani, and contribute to understandings of the scope of care work performed by Indigenous women. Specifically, the project explored: 1) how Indigenous women conceptualise care work, including its scope and nature, 2) how Indigenous women value and experience care work, 3) what volume and type/s of care work Indigenous women are regularly engaged in, and 4) how the care work of Indigenous women might be better recognised and valued in policy. The report draws on ABS data and fieldwork, including interviews and a time-use survey, conducted between August 2022 and May 2023 with Aboriginal organisations in five locations spanning remote, regional, and urban Australia. Drawing on these data, the report also calculates the approximate economic value of the care work Indigenous women undertake. The findings indicate that ‘mainstream’ definitions of care do not include the broad ways in which care is defined by Indigenous women. In women’s stories, care repeatedly emerges as a source of personal and cultural strength. The research also finds, however, that women’s care loads are exacerbated by historic and ongoing colonisation. The report concludes with seven recommendations indicating how policy could be reshaped to centre and support Indigenous women’s care. 

Key words: Indigenous women, unpaid care, colonisation, policy, time use, economic value, child care, aged care, disability care, domestic work, Country, culture. 

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