A woman can expect to do four years more work than her male counterparts in her lifetime, a new report has found.
The report by charity ActionAid, titled ‘Not Ready, Still Waiting’, found that the time spent by women around the world on paid and unpaid work amounts to an extra month for every year of work - The Guardian reports.
The research compared women’s total unpaid hours of work with men’s in 217 developed and developing countries.
It found that worldwide, women’s average additional hours of unpaid work over the global life expectancy for women (69 years) came to an estimated 23 working years.
A woman living in the UK can expect to do two and a half years more labour than her male peers over her working life, illuminating the burden of unpaid care work on women.
The report, which will be presented at the United Nations general assembly today, warns that unpaid care work limits women’s opportunities to pursue income-generating options, to have their voices heard in decision-making and political activities, and restricts their time for rest and leisure.
ActionAid is calling for governments, particularly in developing countries, to provide quality public care services, pass equal pay and family-friendly workplace legislation and agree minimum living wages.
Girish Menon, Chief Executive of ActionAid UK, says: “We do not mean to suggest that all unpaid work, including unpaid care work, should be remunerated, or to ascribe a monetary value to unpaid care, which includes what we believe to be intrinsically invaluable activities, such as loving and nurturing children and family.”
“Rather, ActionAid believes women’s unpaid work should be recognised, reduced and redistributed – between women and men, and between the household and the state.”
“Women’s labour – in and outside the home – is vital to sustainable development and for the wellbeing of society. Without the subsidy it provides, the world economy would not function. Yet it is undervalued and for the most part invisible,” she says.
Unpaid care work includes accounts for everything involved in maintaining a household and caring for others in the home and community, eg: cooking, cleaning, collecting water and firewood in rural areas, taking care of the ill and elderly, participating in community work, working in family enterprises and volunteering.
The report argues that women will continue to face inequality unless their “vastly disproportionate levels of unpaid care work are recognised, reduced and redistributed.”
Last week, a video starring Kristen Bell, published by The Huffington Post, satirised the issue of women's rights, illustrating issues of sexism in the workplace. It can be seen below.