Public Care Services at the Heart of Feminist Wellbeing Economies

The cycle of feminisation of poverty is neither random nor an act of political and economic ill will. It is a structural disorder caused by the exploitation of womxn's labour, centered on paid and unpaid care work.

This work, historically done by womxn, sustains the economic system and is rooted in patriarchy, coloniality of power, and capital accumulation for profits.

It is time for womxn to break this vicious cycle of poverty!

Over the last few years we, as organisations from the feminist, trade union, tax justice, environment, and human rights movements have launched:

Today we join forces to give birth to a new momentum for transformation and structural change.

We foresee a process to keep on building on feminist alternatives and reimagining agendas through the following lines of action:


Decolonising the economy, including the UN and the IFIs

  • Requires the political will to dismantle its systemic and structural pillars with an intersectional approach which can recognise the multiple oppressions it is built on.

  • Needs the demolition of systems and structures that support the Global North’s persistent and inequitable power in global economic governance.

  • New structures must reflect true international politics that must divest from racist, sexist, colonial, extractive, exploitative and coercive relations to wield power.

  •  Includes complete debt cancellation and tangible commitments to meaningful climate, colonial and economic reparations.

  • Demands that countries of the Global North desist from militarising economic relations in order to build a society vested in human, social and well-being feminist principles.

Easing the debt burden

  • Reveals the structural problem of indebtedness and the neocolonial conditionalities that they carry and how they affect womxn.

  •  Exposes the real debt the economic system has on womxn by the daily extraction of centuries of unpaid care work.

  • Understand the Climate Crisis as a debt to the future generation and refusing debt-lead false solutions that repeat colonial patterns disproportionately affecting womxn and girls.

  • Rejects fiscal consolidation approach that prioritizes payments of audacious and illegitimate colonial debt through austerity, over resourcing rights-based approach to care.

  • Advocate for the cancelation all audios and illegitimate debt and debt service that shrink fiscal space of states to fulfill their obligations towards a rights-based approach to rebuilding the social organisation of care

Decolonising the language

  • Stresses the need to recognise that language and communication at the geo-political level are gaining spaces at the local level controlling our view of the world and limiting our will for transformation. 

  • Commits to reconceptualising the world and the changes we want.

Advancing Public Care and Decent Work for Care Workers

  • Displaces the trend of commodification, monetisation, financialisation and privatisation that aim to turn care into a lucrative asset of private interest, and placing care as a common and public good steered by rebuilding the social organisation of care.

  • Articulates the impacts of privatisation of care systems and services on impoverishing womxn, reducing their opportunities, and in many developing countries driving them to migrate out of necessity, and not by choice. While in destination countries, the same trend of privatisation of care perpetuates the exploitation of womxn migrant health and care workers who find themselves in low-wage, dangerous and precarious jobs and living conditions.

  • Calls for gender-transformative, people-centered and rights-based labour migration policies with State regulation for fair and ethical recruitment, upholding core labour standards and investing in public health and care systems of all countries. 

  • Raises the solidarity principle in the role of public care systems and services, which underpins human rights. The principle requires building a culture that understands the importance of quality public services for all and commits to the redistribution of wealth as well as the redistribution of paid and unpaid work, reducing inequalities and social justice.

  • Recognises care as a human right. 

  • Ensures public financing and investing in public care systems and regulating all actors providing care in society, and balancing the participation of the private sector in responding to universal interests.

  • Advances decent work for care workers, including full employment, social protection, rights at work, and collective bargaining rights.


Fostering a Care-led Transition

  • Recognises that the climate crisis is negatively impacting care systems by degrading the land and natural resources necessary for care and domestic work, increasing womxn’s time poverty, and creating more precarious and risky conditions to provide care.

  • Calls for a just transition to sustainable societies and economies that support public care systems by investing in good quality and gender-transformative public services, universal social security programs and just and favourable conditions of work.

  • Denounces that the dominant approach to a just transition towards sustainability has historically favoured the transition of predominantly male workers from the fossil fuel industries to green jobs, including in manufacturing and renewable energy. While this is crucial, it is far from enough to generate equal outcomes, as it commonly disregards the needs, perspectives, and contributions of women, which constitute more than half of the world's population.  

  • Upholds that just transition policies must have a systemic understanding, that encompass not only the structural transformation of the matrix of production, consumption and exchange on a  global scale, but also of the relations in which work takes place, including the transformation of the sexual division of labour, the revaluing the work of womxn and feminised sectors, as well as the elimination of gender pay gaps.

Taxing fairly for Gender-Transformative Care

  • Recognises care work and womxn’s experiences in tax policy formulation by demanding the recognition and valuation of unpaid care work in the formulation of tax policies and administrative practices. This should include establishing tax systems that recognise the unique nature of caregiving and the needs of caregivers – both paid and unpaid, directly and indirectly lessening their tax burden (i.e. through tax credits, exemptions, etc), and eliminating any existing implicit and explicit bias against caregivers - specifically womxn - in tax structures. An essential part of achieving this would be the inclusion of women's voices and perspectives in the design and implementation of tax policies and economic strategies at the national, regional and global levels.

  • Advocates for progressive taxation for financing for gender-transformative public services by calling for progressive national tax systems that can equitably and sustainably finance the provision of free, universal and quality public services such as healthcare, education, childcare, social care, long-term care, social protection and infrastructure. These are essential to alleviate the burden of unpaid care work on womxn. Fairly raising these resources would require ensuring domestic tax policies and international agreements place a greater burden on wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, particularly by introducing and increasing wealth, inheritance and corporate tax rates. Funds raised from these sources can be used to create and/or strengthen national “care funds” with the intent to secure public resources for rebuilding the social organisation of care as a key measure for transforming unequal gender relations.

  • Supports eliminating the burden of regressive tax measures on formal and informal care workers.  Depending on the specific capacity of their tax administrations, governments should take all appropriate steps to effectively counter the disproportionate burden that regressive measures such as VAT place on women, particularly informal caregivers and those living in poverty. On the same line, public action should be taken to favour the most vulnerable, correcting measures that enlarge existing social and economic gaps, such as tax expenditures and benefits that disproportionately help the wealthier and the most powerful ones.

  • Raises the need of developing tax transparency and accountability to curb illicit financial flows by advocating for greater transparency to tackle the secrecy that enables corporate and individual tax avoidance and tax evasion, which results in draining critical public resources that disproportionately affect women’s rights. This will include the adoption of (A)multilateral, automatic exchange of information about financial accounts and related asset classes, without the requirement for immediate reciprocity from developing countries; (B) transparency of the beneficial owners of companies, trusts, partnerships and other legal vehicles, through public registers including the establishment of a Global Asset Registry; and ( C) annual publication of country-by-country reporting data at the company level, as well as gender analysis of tax exemptions and incentives, and general public disclosures and transparency, including tax policies and practices, by national tax authorities to strengthen public accountability and effective cross-border cooperation.

  • Calls for an inclusive and democratic global tax cooperation for a UN Framework Convention on Tax that contributes towards gender-justice by demanding an intergovernmental process for inclusive and effective international cooperation in tax matters. This initiative could deliver on a more equitable, inclusive, transparent and democratic international tax architecture capable of contributing to the fulfilment of womxn’s rights and gender-transformative tax policies at all levels. In particular, demand that feminist proposals and expertise be considered in the negotiations of a UN Framework Convention on international tax cooperation.

  • Reaffirms a rights-based approach to care, enshrined in obligations of states and institutions to use tax to mobilize maximum available resources to gain the fiscal space necessary to realize womxn’s rights.

This roadmap was jointly elaborated by Public Services International,  DAWN, ActionAid, OXFAM, CESR, GI-ESCR, GATJ, TJN, Womankind, FEMNET, IDWF, and ESCR-Net