7 Oct 2016

Girls spend 40 percent more time on chores than boys - UN report

7:08 pm on 7 October 2016

A new UN report has found that worldwide, girls spend 40 percent more time doing unpaid household chores than boys.

An African girl carrying a basket on her head. Zambia

Photo: 123RF

The United Nations children's agency Unicef said the difference in time spent working added up to 160 million extra hours a day.

Two out of three girls cook and clean in the home, and almost half collect water or firewood.

They also performed more "less visible" domestic work like childcare or looking after the elderly.

The report found the extra workload increased with time - between ages five and nine, girls spent 30 percent more time on chores.

By 14, it rose to 50 percent.

The report said tasks such as gathering water or firewood can also put young girls at increased risk of sexual violence.

In Somalia, girls between 10 and 14 years old spend 26 hours a week on household chores - the most of any country. Burkina Faso and Yemen also have some of the largest labour gaps between boys and girls.

"Girls sacrifice important opportunities to learn, grow and just enjoy their childhood," Unicef's Anju Malhotra said.

"This unequal distribution of labour among children also perpetuates gender stereotypes and the double burden on women and girls across generations."

The report, which also included data on violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation and education, is being released to coincide with the UN's international day of the girl child on 11 October.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs