Consumption of market goods and services compared to unpaid care and household services by age, India
(1999). For details, see National Transfer Accounts, Bulletin 13, March, 2018.

Working in collaboration with NTA

Counting Women's Work is part of the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) project.  NTA is an established research network with member teams in over 60 countries that has developed methodology to disaggregate national accounts by age.  CWW adds gender to this framework by estimating economic flows by age and sex, allowing us to see how men, women, girls, and boys produce, consume, transfer and save economic resources.  In addition, CWW has developed National Time Transfer Accounts (NTTA).  NTTA use time use data to estimate the same production, consumption, and transfers measured for the market economy in NTA, but for the household economy of unpaid care work.  Unpaid care work, traditionally known as “women’s work,” includes housework such as cooking, cleaning, household management and maintenance, as well as direct care provided to children, elders, and the community.  Combining NTTA and NTA allow us to conceptualize and estimate transfers of time as well as money. 


Setting the terms of public discussion and policy debate

Combining estimates for the market and the household with the age dimension in a cross-national comparative context brings women’s total economic contributions into view and reveals patterns of difference by gender.  This sets the terms of public discussion and policy debate around issues of gender and the economy such as:

  • If the government wanted to equalize human capital investment in boys and girls, how much would it cost? Do girls bear unpaid housework and care burdens that complicate the simple equation that money spent on school and health produces more human capital investment?

  • What could the consequences be for women if their increasing labor force participation does not decrease their unpaid housework and care responsibilities? What changes by men would be needed for a more equitable division of market and household production responsibilities?

  • In designing a public pension system, how would the system differ if work credits were given for years spent working in the household, in addition to years spent in market work?


A network for collaboration, technical support, and communication

The Counting Women's Work project supports a group of low- and middle-income countries to apply the methodology through training, networking with other researchers, and technical support.  Other countries in the NTA research network have produced estimates using the same methodology, to create an extensive cross-national comparative database.  From these results, we document the empirical reality of the gendered economy and provide tools for addressing relevant policy questions and extending the field of economics to include "women's work."

Communication of our results to a broader public and policy audience is a key component of this project. The success of the NTA project can be seen in the many instances in which national and pan-national government and research organizations now consider age effects in economic analysis and policy development, and the extent to which they rely on NTA estimates to understand those impacts. The success of CWW will be judged on whether we can do the same for gender and unpaid care work.

The project is funded jointly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the International Development Research Centre.