Sandra Johanna Daza is a mother in Bogotá, Colombia – and one of more than 1.2 million women in the city who devote an average of five and a half hours every day to unpaid housework or caregiving. Fourteen percent of these women are unable to leave their homes because of the conditions of those they care for, and others, like Sandra, are left with no time after work to pursue their educations.
“I didn’t have any place to go to school,” she said. “I had to take the bus, which didn’t allow me to either work or take care of my kids.”
In response to these challenges, Bogotá is creating neighborhood “care blocks” with a wide variety of supports designed to reduce women’s unpaid care work and spark a cultural shift that redistributes care more equitably within families. The innovative program was one of 15 winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayors Challenge, which will provide $1 million and extensive technical support to help grow the effort.
Now, Sandra is completing her high school degree through the program, which offers educational opportunities for low-income women caregivers among many other resources. And she has plans to continue studying beyond high school: “I want to study nursing, so that my children can do the same,” she said.