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The Care Economy, Women's Economic Empowerment, and China's Inclusive Growth Agenda

Over the past three decades, China's economy has grown rapidly, creating new economic opportunities for men and women. But these transformations have also created challenges, especially for women who find it difficult to balance their roles as caregivers and income-earners under reduced social provisions. This project aims to inform public policies through an analysis of the tensions between China's rapid economic growth and the increased burden on women.

In the last decade, the Chinese government has begun to address socio-economic inequalities, with a renewed interest in social policies. Caregiving is taking its place in China's new development strategy.

This research project aims to contribute to this policy shift. It will assess the impact of economic transition on women, and promote research-based policy analysis for gender equality. The work will include thematic reports on women's care responsibilities, labour market participation, and public policies that
can support women. Researchers will:
-apply a variety of research methods;
-actively engage in policy debates; and,
-provide evidence to inform policy solutions.

More specifically, the research will:
-provide empirical evidence on the effects of care work on women's labour market outcomes and economic empowerment;
-pay special attention to women who are disadvantaged, both socially and economically;
-explore policy solutions to address the tensions between paid work and unpaid caregiving;
-assess the effects of existing policy measures on women's labour market outcomes;
-enhance the skills of young Chinese researchers to produce high-quality, policy-relevant economic research on gender issues; and,
-inform stakeholders about the links between the care economy and the productive economy, and what this means for gender equality and inclusive growth in China.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
42 months
IDRC Officer
Edgard Rodriguez
Total Funding
CA$ 560,400.00
Employment and Growth
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Project Leader
Dr. Yaohui Zhao
Peking University as represented by XU Zhihong
Institution Country
Project Leader
Xiao-yuan Dong
The University of Winnipeg



Caring across generations : policy challenges for China