Economy

Women Spend More Time Doing Unpaid Work Than Men, Finds Study

Representative image. Credit: Reuters

Representative image. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Women spend two to ten times more time doing unpaid work than men, according to a research released on November 29 by an NGO. It said one of the major manifestations of the extent of stress in a woman’s life was lack of sleep.

The study ‘Invisible Work, Invisible Workers – The Sub-Economies of Unpaid Work and Paid Work’ has been compiled on the basis of a research conducted in the districts of Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttarakhand.

It comprises a survey of 1,560 women and the desk review of schemes and policies aimed at reducing and redistributing women’s unpaid work in these states.

Releasing the report by ActionAid India, minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athawale recalled his mother who worked as an agricultural worker and also put him through school.

“Women take on a number of responsibilities and they should get justice and security in the sphere of work,” he said. He promised to take up the issues with the authorities concerned.

Sponsored by UN Women and conducted by a team of researchers led by Professor Ritu Dewan of Centre for Development Research and Action, the research generates evidence on the continuum of women’s paid-unpaid work in the context of both urban and rural constituencies.

According to the research, not only more women engage in unpaid work as compared to men, they spend two to ten times more time on unpaid work. In addition to their paid activities, this creates a double burden for them with implications on their health, ability to acquire education, skills, a paid job and an independent income as well as a voice and social status.

“This is not to say that men do much less work, but in general the number of men involved as well as their share of the work burden is significantly less in terms of both hours and ranges as compared to women,” Dewan said.

In terms of amount of stress that women have to bear, the study revealed that nearly 80% of women in all areas categorically expressed their desire for sleep.

The burden of unpaid work is also intensified by the lack of adequate public provisioning in critical sectors such as energy, health, water and sanitation, food security and livelihoods, said Sandeep Chachra, executive director of ActionAid India.

Intensifying women’s burden and increasing it manifold was the huge vacuum created by macroeconomic policies and strategies that do not take cognisance of its existence, he said.

This was aggravated by the continuous and consistent withdrawal of whatever little state support existed in the hunt for capital accumulation, Chachra said.