Oxfam Kenya new report provides key findings and recommendations on unpaid care and domestic work.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Tabitha Mwikali, 36, a domestic worker hanging clothes for her employer in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. 2016

Nairobi, Kenya 5th December 2019 – Oxfam in Kenya today will launch a household care survey report on the gendered patterns of unpaid care and domestic work in five urban informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya.

Oxfam in Kenya through its Women’s Rights Programme commissioned a Household Care Survey (HCS) between October 2018 and March 2019. The objective of the survey was to understand how Unpaid Care and Domestic Work (UCDW) impacts men and women, boys and girls at the household level, targeting five informal settlements of Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru, Kawangware and Korogocho in Nairobi City.

The report highlights that unequal distribution of UCDW between women and men, boys and girls, further limits women’s opportunities for economic empowerment and political participation. Additionally, the reduction of UCDW for women would enable them to engage in productive activities linked to improvements in their livelihoods.

The report highlights how UCDW is differently distributed between women and men and boys and girls of different age groups. It also brings to the fore the different perceptions and attitudes towards UCDW among women and men including its perceived social value. A thorough analysis of the different household and individual characteristics that facilitate or hinder equal sharing of UCDW is also covered in the report.

Lastly, the survey provides key policy recommendations to the national and county government and the private sector based on the 4Rs, that is, Recognition, Reduction, Redistribution and Representation of UCDW, as a strategy towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal target number 5.4 on unpaid care and domestic work by 2030.

Some facts and figures from the survey:

  • Women spend 11.1 hours per day on any care compared to 2.9 hours per day by men.
  • Over half (55%) of women had suffered from health risks including injury, illness or disability due to performing heavy tasks.
  • Women who owned fuel and washing-related equipment spent about 203 hours less on any care.
  • Women with access to improved water sources and healthcare facilities spend from 4 to 5 hours less per day on any care than women without these services.
  • Women who lived further away from the nearest market spent more time on any care.
  • The results showed that men who had been taught to cook as children or whose fathers cooked when they were children tended to do more primary care, and men who had been taught to look after children carried out more care work.
  • Women who have more decision-making power in the household spent less time on any care work.
  • Women living in households with at least one child under 6 years spent more time on primary and any care.
  • 44% of the women respondents affirmed having known of a man who has been subjected to stigma due to performing UCDW.
  • Almost half (4 in 10) men had never seen another man prepare meals.
  • 7 in 10 women reported that they were satisfied with how UCDW was currently shared across the household.

Some of the specific recommendations for various actors including- government, media, the private sector, civil society and citizens are; -

  • Development and inclusion of gender-responsive budget policies that recognizes Unpaid Care and Domestic Work in citizens lives and the contribution of UCDW to social and economic wellbeing.
  • Carry out evidence-based policy advocacy that will allow freeing up women’s time allows more women to participate in social, political and economic life.
  • Government to invest in public services, social protection and infrastructure to reduce long hours of UCDW for women and the related negative health impacts and opportunity costs.
  • Development actors to partner with private sector and government to manufacture and provide labour saving equipment and technology to low-income households.
  • Ensure both public and private institutions make provision for care supporting services and spaces in meeting and workplaces, for example, breastfeeding spaces and child care facilities.
  • Develop public communications, advertisements and public service announcements that positively reinforce men’s roles in caring for children and families.
  • Collaborate with diverse stakeholders, including religious leaders, private sector, the media and government to develop evidence-based social norms interventions that encourage men to share responsibilities for UCDW.
  • Ensure that women with care responsibilities are included in ward-level committees and leadership roles.
Notes to editors: 

The report and its executive summary are available at https://oxf.am/2LpRLvJ

Contact information: 

Ruth Oloo | Women’s Rights Strategist |ROloo@oxfam.org.uk

Caroline Mochoge| Communications|CMochoge@oxfam.org.uk