A British Christian church advocate wants to see unpaid work perceived in a different way and given greater value in modern society. Jo Trickey from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC) says unpaid work, especially when undertaken by woman, is seen as less valuable.
She told Premier Christian News: “As you look around, you see lots and lots of women, and certainly some men as well, working really hard above and beyond their paid work. I think what’s really striking here for women is because they’re not paid for it, it’s somehow seen as less valuable. That’s something I would love to challenge and we at LICC would love to challenge. Just because it’s not paid doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring glory to God. It doesn’t mean it’s not part of our calling and it doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful”
The charity Oxfam found almost two-thirds of the work carried out by women is ignored in official data which measures economies and that nearly half of all work done by both men and women, is unpaid care.
Ms. Trickey added: “I’d love to see people find a bit more value and affirmation in all that unpaid work that they do. We’re not talking about finding a way to pay for that work, because that would be kind of globally and economically, completely chaotic. But I’d love to see a sense of value ascribed to that work, to recognise that that work is partnering with God and making culture and making communities in setting kids up for life. And looking after some of our older relatives and friends, those things are really, really important.”
“I love that so much of what we do that’s unpaid is participating with God in creating beautiful things, restoring order, and helping other people to flourish. I’d love for us to talk about that not as the stuff that happens behind the scenes – the drudgery of life endlessly sorting kids’ socks, or doing a school run or helping an elderly granny to move – but actually wonderful, generous sharing with God in the work that he’s doing,” she observed.
The church advocate told Premier Christian News she believes churches also have a role to play in valuing the contribution of unpaid work: “So much of what happens is unpaid. We see that in our churches, huge armies of wonderful volunteers, giving their time and energy and often dominated by women. For church leaders it’s always a good thing to be thinking about, how are we valuing both our volunteers, and those people in our church who we know are working really hard, caring for others,” she asserted.