Care is present throughout our lives. We are cared for at birth, then we care for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities who require it. As we grow older, we will need some form of care and support. Activities such as washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, caring for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities are essential to our lives and are care work.
No society can succeed without care work. However, its provision is unbalanced, and recognizing the excessive burden of women in performing this unpaid work is fundamental to closing gender gaps and building a more equitable society.
There are 4 million women in Bogotá, 3.6 million of whom do unpaid care work and for 1.2 million of whom this is their main activity. They represent 30% of women in Bogotá, for whom life revolves around caring for their loved ones, a job that is neither paid nor recognized as productive work.
Although it contributes to the well-being of families and society, caregiving has been mostly invisible and is not recognized or shared with other healthy family members. Women’s “time poverty” is a structural cause of gender inequality. It results in a considerable loss of women’s political participation, entrenches inequality in the household, and is an economic loss to society.
For this reason, the Bogotá District Administration, headed by Mayor Claudia López Hernández, created the District Care System, a program that, for the first time, put the care needs of 61% of the population at the center of the agenda: women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
The District Care System provides services to meet care needs with responsibility shared between the City, the Nation, the private sector, communities, and households. This balances the provision of care so that women and caregivers have time to pursue personal development, self-care, wellbeing, income generation and to engage in political participation.
Its objectives are:
- To recognize the work of caregiving and the contribution made by those who perform it.
- To redistribute the work of caregiving among all.
- To reduce the time spent by women.
In total, the Care System serves caregivers, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, the elderly, men and families.
The System operates through the Care Blocks, the Care Buses, and the In-Home Assistance Program. The Manzanas del Cuidado are areas of the city where we concentrate infrastructure and services to simultaneously serve caregivers and their families.
The Care Buses are the mobile versions of the Manzanas. The fully equipped vehicles bring education, respite, wellness, care, income generation, and cultural transformation services to the most remote rural and urban areas in Bogotá. The Home Assistance program brings the System to the homes of the caregivers who need it most.
Bogota now operates 20 Care Blocks and two Care Buses. With their services we have provided more than 834,541 services to women and their families. In three years, since we opened the first Manzana del Cuidado, we have achieved that 28,812 women have graduated from the training offered, that more than 119,915 have already enjoyed respite and wellness services, and we have also assisted 27,579 women with our employment and entrepreneurship routes in income generation services.
THE CARE SYSTEM HAS GROWN NOW TO OPERATE 20 CARE BLOCKS AND TWO CARE BUSES, PROVIDING…
services to women and their families
In addition, thanks to the community laundry and childcare services, we have been able to relieve women of the overload of care work, freeing up their time and providing services for them. With the laundries we have assisted more than 2,071 women and have freed up hours equivalent to 363 days, and with the Art of Caring for You, a service with which we have assisted more than 3,433 children, we have freed up hours equivalent to 481 days.