Work in all its forms occupies a substantial amount of people’s time and is essential to livelihoods and wellbeing. Work is also closely associated with an individual’s status within their society. While the absence of paid work is often a cause of social stigma, the nature of work may also cause stigma. For marginalised social groups, the need to earn an income may require acceptance of work that is unsafe, unhealthy or humiliating.
Paid work, in all its forms, is highly gendered. Persistent labour market segregation has resulted in women having fewer employment opportunities, which reinforces gender inequality. Unpaid work is often carried out by women, and is undervalued both socially and economically. A critical gender issue relating to work, which is often unrecognised by a smart economics approach, is the dual or double burden. This describes the combination of productive and reproductive labour. While both men and women may undertake both paid and unpaid work, the latter falls heavily to women.
Women in the participatory research underpinning the IMMP spoke of the barriers to paid employment, the extent of their unpaid work, and their double burden. The work dimension of the IMMP consists of three themes: work for pay, profit and production; unpaid domestic and care work; and the double labour burden.