The Law of Care

The U.S. experience of the covid-19 pandemic has witnessed over 2 million women leaving the paid workforce and threatening the hard-won gains from the late 20th century. Women are disproportionately employed in industries facing job losses, many of which involve care or face to face interaction. They have also been more likely to leave the workplace due to increased care obligations during shutdowns. The pandemic has revealed the underlying fragility of the U.S. privatized model of care and the continued gendered stratification of the work force. New federal legislative efforts have aimed ambitiously to remedy this crisis of care by focusing on “care” as a form of social infrastructure. This discussion draws on the current political moment to develop a vision of the “law of care” that pushes beyond the limitations of a “family law” framing and brings into the conceptual fold diverse and unattended ways in which “care” shapes social and legal experience and produces inequality.