Girls between the age of 5 and 14 years in South Asia spend 50 per cent more time on household chores compared to boys of their age, UNICEF said in new report, highlighting the uneven distribution of unpaid domestic work that reinforces gender stereotypes.
The types of chores girls spend their time on include cooking, cleaning, caring for family members, collecting firewood and water.
“The burden of domestic work begins early, with girls between 5 and 9 years old spending 30 per cent more time, or 40 million more hours a day, on household chores than boys of their age,” said the report titled ‘Harnessing the power of data for girls: taking stock and looking ahead to 2030′.
“The numbers rise with age, with girls between 10 and 14 years old spending 50 per cent more time, or 120 million more hours each day,” it said.
The report further adds that in certain regions the gender disparities are worse.
“In Middle East and North Africa and South Asia regions, girls aged 5–14 years spend nearly twice as many hours per week on household chores as boys of the same age.”
The countries where girls between 10 to 14 years old bear the most disproportionate burden of household chores compared to boys are Burkina Faso, Yemen and Somalia.
“The uneven distribution of unpaid household chores leads societies to believe that a girl’s primary role is at home. It simultaneously reinforces gender stereotypes and perpetuates girls’ and women’s economic dependence,” UNICEF said in a statement.
UNICEF demands that laws, policies and programmes must acknowledge this unfair burden on girls. Simultaneously, it asks for investments in infrastructure and technologies to reduce the time girls and women spend on domestic work.
The report also underlines the importance of filling up gaps in “gender data” so that it can be used to frame policies to address discrimination between the sexes.