What is invisible labor? It's real and it hurts. Here's what to know. - Deepstash

Invisible work refers to work that is unpaid, unnoticed and unacknowledged. These tasks include cooking dinner, assisting children with homework, or making a dentist appointment.

Invisible labour also appears in other sectors. For example, doing unpaid work for the "exposure" that could lead to industry connections, or a task outside of your work duties that could give you access to better "opportunities." While it may be true, it is still invisible labour.

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We pay for what matters. When someone does unpaid and unacknowledged work, it can mean they don't matter in other ways.

  • One United Nations report found women do three out of every four hours of unpaid labour. It leads to reduced earnings.
  • When women get paid for their work, everyone benefits. Women's economic empowerment contributes to growing economies.
  • An analysis from Oxfam estimated unpaid care work done by women was worth at least $10.8 trillion annually.

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People often don't even realise they're doing work, as is the case with invisible labour. It's true for an employee who has to purchase specific clothing and groom himself in a specific way to work at a specific retail job, and it's true for the mother who can't understand why she feels more exhausted than her partner.

However, once you spot invisible labour, you can't unsee it.

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To solve invisible labour, people need to make it visible. Then they should do something about it.

  • On an individual scale, family members can talk about the division of work at home.
  • Paid parental leave or subsidised child care could help alleviate the unpaid work mothers currently do.

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