The Care Economy in Crisis: A post-COVID-19 feminist recovery plan

7 Feb 2022
Laura Turquet, Silke Staab, Felicity Daly and Ailbhe Smyth (clockwise from top left)

In this seminar, Silke Staab and Laura Turquet drew on the UN Women report Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice (2021), to propose the idea of a feminist social contract that centers women’s access to decent work, investments in the care economy and gender-just transitions to environmental sustainability within a broader politics for economic recovery and transformation. They looked at the different ways in which the pandemic has revealed current social contracts to be fractured. The idea of a feminist social contract was also explored, tracing some of the history of how feminists have engaged with social contract theory, and how this can be applied to new framings of a renewed social contract with care at its core. The role of the state in reimagining and re-engineering fractured social contracts was explored, both in terms of the what (provision of collective goods and services) and the how (redefinition of state-society relations, including a shift in gender power relations, and greater global solidarity). Discussant, Ailbhe Smyth responded to the issues raised in the two presentations.

A recording of the seminar is available here

The seminar was hosted by the CareVisions project in collaboration with ISS21, and chaired by Dr Felicity Daly.


Laura Turquet is a Policy Advisor and Deputy Chief of Research and Data at UN Women. For the past 12 years, she has worked at UN Women leading major research and data initiatives that inform the organization’s advocacy objectives and empower civil society and governments to seek and implement change, including most recently Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice. Laura leads the organisation’s flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women, and has co-authored three editions on women’s access to justice, women’s economic empowerment and women’s rights in families. She is a co-founder of the UN Feminist Network and previously worked at ActionAid UK, the Institute of Development Studies and the Fawcett Society. 

Silke Staab is a research specialist at UN Women, New York, and co-author of several of the organization’s flagship reports, most recently Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice. Over the past year and a half, she co-led the UNDP-UN Women COVID-19 Gender Response Tracker which monitors government responses aimed at addressing violence against women, women’s economic security and unpaid care in the context of the pandemic. Silke holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Manchester and has published widely on gender, politics and public policy. Before joining UN Women, she held positions with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). 

For more on this story contact:

The CareVisions Team at:

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

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