Women spend more time on unpaid work than men, KNBS report shows

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director-General Macdonald Obudho. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Women are spending more time on unpaid work compared to men, according to the latest report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The report; Time Use Report Survey, released on Wednesday, October 18 in Nairobi, showed that while women spend 4 hours and 30 minutes on unpaid work, including domestic work in a day, men spend just about 54 minutes.

The researchers were out to establish how men and women spend their time on a daily basis.

“On average, women spend approximately five hours per day on unpaid work, which is about five times more the time men (about 1 hour) spend on unpaid work. The proportion of time spent on these activities in rural areas is slightly higher compared to urban areas for both women and men,” the report notes. 

It added: “Nationally, women spend approximately seven times more time on unpaid work (2.4 per cent) than men (0.4 per cent), and about five times more (16.3 per cent) on unpaid domestic work than their male counterparts (3.2per cent).”

At the county level, the burden of work is highest for women in Marsabit (30.2 per cent) followed by Wajir (26.8 per cent), Samburu (24.2 per cent), Mandera (23.8 per cent), and Garissa (23.7 per cent).

“Regardless of their work status, women spend more time on unpaid work than men. Nationally, individuals who are not working spend more time on the said activities (16.4 per cent) compared to those who are working (10.5 per cent) on a daily basis. Working women spend on average four hours per day on unpaid work, whereas, working men spend about an hour.”

KNBS Director General Macdonald Obudho calls for the development of an unpaid care and domestic work policy which will provide a legal framework to recognize, reduce, and redistribute unpaid care work.

"This would also help to establish family-friendly working arrangements for all workers, regulate and implement decent terms and conditions of employment, and help achieve
equal pay for work of equal value for all care workers," said Obudho.

On his part, State Department for Economic Planning Principal Secretary James Muhati said; "“This data will help to recognize and even value unpaid care and domestic work in economic terms."