Girls Spend 550 Million Daily Hours on Chores

Girls under 15 years old spend 40 percent more time than boys on household chores every day globally.

Domestic work like cooking, cleaning, caring for family members falls disproportionately on the shoulders of girls. Girls spend 550 million hours a day globally on these tasks. The work is often underrated and less visible.

One round trip to collect water takes an average of 33 minutes in rural sub-Sahara Africa. The time takes girls away from play, socialization or study time. Girls risk injury and exposure to sexual violence when walking to collect water.

As children grow older, the age gap widens. Of children between 5 and 9-years old, girls spend 30 percent more time than boys on domestic chores every day. However, 10-to-14-year-old girls tackle 50 percent more each day than same aged boys. Research shows that boys seem to be more likely to be into economic activities.

There are nearly 2 billion children in the world under the age of 15. Of the 1.1 billion girls under 18, about 75 percent live in Asia or Africa, and the number of girls in Africa is expected to grow 30 percent by 2030.

The Burden Of Chores

The gendered distribution of chores can affect girls’ potential and self-esteem. Mostly because it socializes them into thinking women are only here for domestic work. In Zimbabwe, 81 percent of girls have had to drop out of school either temporarily or permanently at some point.

The burden of chores contributes to so many girls dropping out of school in developing countries. Other factors include child marriage and pregnancy, poverty and a lack of access to sanitary and private bathrooms.

Less than 50 percent of boys and girls have reached parity in secondary education. In West and Central Africa, 79 girls are in secondary school for every 100 boys.

In Tanzania, a study shows that school attendance grew 12 percent when water was available within 15 minutes.

“Quantifying the challenges girls face is the first critical step towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality and breaking down barriers that confront the world’s 1.1 billion girls,” said UNICEF Chief of Data and Analytics Attila Hancioglu.