Ethic of Care. Why Care Policies Need to Recognize the Interdependence of Us All

Ruth Evans’ blog post for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Transformation Conversation blog series calls for the language of ‘burden’ and ‘dependency’ to be re-framed to recognise the vulnerability and interdependence of us all. She writes:

“Care is finally receiving more of the attention it deserves in international development policy. Unpaid care and domestic work is explicitly recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. Target 5.4 indicates this recognition should take place, “through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies”. The UNRISD 2016 Flagship report joins calls for unpaid care and domestic work to be recognized, reduced and redistributed (known as the “Triple R” framework) by means of care policies. […]

Rather than using the language of ‘burden’ and ‘dependency’, care needs to be re-framed to recognize the vulnerability and interdependence of us all. While care is often constructed as ‘women’s work’, as part of their so-called ‘natural’ nurturing roles as mothers, children, particularly girls, also take on substantial and regular care and domestic work in households where a parent, sibling or relative has a need for care related to young or older age, disability, chronic illness, mental health or substance misuse. Despite significant research evidence that children’s care work can have a range of negative impacts, as well as some positive impacts, it is often neglected within public policy. Recent research in Senegal has also shown that the death of a parent, sibling or adult relative can lead to increases in young people’s care work, which can have detrimental impacts on their well-being, education and employment outcomes”.

Read more here

A holistic approach to young people’s psychosocial wellbeing

Next Participation Lab event: 9.30-11.30am 22 November 2016, Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ

This event explores different approaches to young people’s psychosocial wellbeing in the Global South, including care and support following the death of a family member, and shares good practice in advancing support for young people, families and communities. It coincides with Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK, raising awareness of bereaved children and young people, which provides an opportunity to explore learning from the Global North.

To register to attend or to watch online, please click here.

Migration, Care, Language & Identity workshop

We are pleased to host an exciting workshop that will explore multi-disciplinary perspectives on Migration, Care, Language and Identity at the University of Reading on 3 November 2016. The programme includes:

  • Keynote from Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender, Migration & Citizenship, Middlesex University
  • Presentations of research findings from Reading academic staff and from practitioners working with refugees and migrants
  • Presentation of preliminary findings from Ruth Evans’ research on Forced Migration, Care and Family Relations in the South East of England, followed by a panel discussion with practitioners, including the Refugee Council and Children’s Society Include Project
  • Keynote from Jean-Marc Dewaele, Professor in Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism, Birkbeck, University of London


Art work produced in participatory workshops with refugees living with chronic illness and with young people from migrant backgrounds as part of Ruth Evans’ research will also be exhibited.

This Participation Lab workshop is funded by the University of Reading and is a collaboration with the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism and Global Development at Reading.

For more information, see the programme: Migration workshop

Contact: Ruth Evans,; @DrRuth_Evans.