Implementing Solutions

The Care Economy

How can we make giving and receiving care accessible, affordable, and valued for all?

Submissions are Closed

Challenge Overview

Care work is ubiquitous and essential. Paid and unpaid carers support over one billion people, including children under 6, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. High-quality care encourages early childhood development, enables a higher quality of life, and provides meaningful work. Yet today, most care work globally is unpaid or undervalued, and disproportionately falls on women and girls. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this gender disparity worse, pushing millions of women out of the workforce as the default caregivers for children or sick family members. Simultaneously, paid care workers face a lack of support, limited benefits, and little control over workplace conditions.

The care economy looks very different around the world. Where formal care is more available, the high cost can limit access, and yet, care workers are often still underpaid. In many areas, childcare is often informal or unavailable, limiting options for women to pursue other jobs. Elsewhere, care work often falls on domestic workers, many of them migrants, who have few legal rights and can be exploited. Technology and innovation can help to make the care economy in all contexts more transparent, safe, and accessible through new models of care, new ways to support workers, and shifts in gender stereotypes.

The MIT Solve community is looking for eight technology-based solutions that help care workers pursue safe and secure work, and make care for young children, the elderly, and people with disabilities accessible and affordable in all contexts. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:

  • Improve access to training and certifications, portable benefits, and labor organizations for care workers.

  • Ensure decent working conditions and basic rights for care workers, particularly migrant or domestic workers whose labor may be exploited. 

  • Enable new models for childcare or eldercare that improve affordability, convenience, and community trust. 

  • Establish care work as a broadly respected profession, including reducing stereotypes around gender roles. 

Special Call: Black & Brown Innovators program
Black and Latinx people, particularly women, account for the majority of the US care workforce facing inequalities in the system. Communities of color in the US also often have less access to affordable formal care for their own loved ones. As part of Solve’s ongoing work on US racial equity, we will select 1-2 solutions from the US working to address these disparities for our Black & Brown Innovators Program.

Photo credit: OneSky


Accepting Solutions

  • Challenge Open
  • Deadline to Submit

Evaluating Solutions

  • Solve Challenge Finals
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