“Time poverty”

Globally, women’s unpaid work leaves societies at disadvantage

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Around the world, men and women allocate time differently. Men often spend more time for paid work, while women do the majority of unpaid work like child care, cleaning and cooking — setting societies at a disadvantage wherein the economic potential of women remains untapped. According to Melinda Gates, as quoted in the New York Times, “This is one of those root inequalities that exist all over in society and we just don’t talk about it very much.” Her priority for this year as co-founder of the Gates Foundation is to alleviate “time poverty” that keeps women trapped in domestic roles, doing unpaid work.

Men in countries like Japan, Mexico and India perform the least amount of chores, while those in Scandinavian countries like Norway are putting a more equal foot forward. In the United States, women spend four hours every day doing unpaid work, while men complete about 2.5 hours — but the difference starts early, according to the Times. Girls ages 10 to 17 in the U.S. spend two more hours than boys on housework, and boys are 15 percent more likely to be paid for doing chores.

When women spend less time doing unpaid work, labor force participation increases and for girls, the opportunity to receive education is more likely when boys and men do more unpaid work (or when both do less chores altogether).

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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