Care trends in private households: redistribute or outsource?


This project investigates care arrangements with paid service providers and the policy and institutional framework conditions for care of persons in private households. The goal is to be able to assess consequences for gender equality.

Project description (completed research project)

Despite numerous measures for gender equality, unpaid housework and care work in Switzerland are unequally distributed, with women taking on a larger share than men. What is more, women are mainly employed part-time, and they have to do this housework and care work alongside their paid work hours. In contrast, men continue to work mostly full-time. In spite of women’s double burden, a care deficit remains that calls for a (re)organisation of care work.


Studies in other countries show that care is being outsourced to service providers, mainly women immigrants, usually doing domestic work. This is particularly the case where public care services are few and far between or too expensive. Although estimates indicate that this trend may also be present in Switzerland, there is a lack of systematic knowledge. It is also unknown how this affects gender equality processes. This study aims to:

  1. Acquire knowledge of different forms of private care arrangements with foreign service providers
  2. Identify relevant policy framework conditions that influence these privately paid for care arrangements
  3. Explore the gender equality consequences of the policy framework conditions and the care arrangements

The project will use the following methods:

  1. Thirty narrative interviews with employers and employees in private households
  2. Policy field analyses and group discussions with experts
  3. Analysis of the connection between the policy framework conditions and the care arrangements

Original title

"Private Care"-Arrangements in der Schweiz – eine Herausforderung für die Gleichstellung

Project leader(s)

  • Prof. Annegret Wigger, Institut für Soziale Arbeit (IFSA), Fachhochschule St. Gallen, Rorschach
  • Dr. Nadia Baghdadi, IFSA, Fachhochschule St. Gallen, Rorschach



Further information on this content


Annegret Wigger Institut für Soziale Arbeit (IFSA)
Fachhochschule St. Gallen
Industriestrasse 35, Postfach 9401 Rorschach +41 71 844 48 82

Products of the project