Care Work Network: Distillations #1

Nancy Folbre
30 March 2020

As of March 30, 2020…

Very helpful discussions of Covid19 social impact have unfolded on the Care Work Network list. Some impressions and engagements especially relevant to the U.S. are listed below.  A forthcoming post will summarize some comments  from the global South.

(You can learn more about Care Work Network here. To subscribe to the listserv, email Darcie Boyer with your name, affiliation and email)

  1. Many of the postings point to important blind spots in current Coronavirus care policy—people with disabilities, complex medical conditions, children caregivers and so on. Also, many people living alone—what happens when if they get really sick?
  2. The childcare ecosystem in the U.S. is suffering serious economic dislocation as centers and family providers are being shut down. Seems like there’s been more discussion in the media about the restaurant industry and the fate of celebrity chefs, (not that restaurants are not important services that employ a lot of workers).
  3. All paid care workers (health care workers, childcare and elder care workers, and all those providing services that put them in potentially close biological contact with carriers of the coronavirus) face serious risks and require clearly specified legal protections for their health and safety. Some Occupational Safety and Health Act recommendations listed here.
  4. The whole crisis suggests that the definition of “care worker” needs reconsideration. Comments welcome!
  5. Considerable interest in designing and implementing a quick-off-the-mark and—hopefully–international survey of time use in sequestered households, especially those with members who have tested positive for covid19.

(Please leave a comment below or contact me personally at if you have relevant interests and/or resources).

One comment on "Care Work Network: Distillations #1"

  1. Bootstrap Media Preview
    Catherine Huddleston-Casas

    Do you happen to read Heather Cox Richardson’s daily blog called Letters from an American? I have been following it since fall last year. As the covid19 crisis is unfolding, I am frequently wanting to see your analysis of what is happening in the context of your understanding of the economic value (or failure to acknowledge the economic contribution of) caring labor.

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