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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

More women into unpaid care work due to COVID-19

Women tied-up in unpaid care work, says OXFAM survey

MANILA - With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing families to spend more time at home, women are still bearing the brunt of unpaid care work.

The 2021 National Household Care Survey, commissioned by Oxfam Philippines and their partner organizations, revealed when time spent on supervision of children is included, women spend up to 13 hours a day of unpaid care work compared wo eight hours for men.

The same survey conducted from January to March 2021, involved interviews with 1,177 individuals from randomly sampled households in Cagayan, Metro Manila, Masbate, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

The survey was funded by Oxfam Philippines in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women, WeEEmpower Asia, University of the Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Planet Cora, PATAMABA, SIMCARRD, COM and the Local Government of Salcedo and Eastern Samar.

According to a statement released early Saturday evening, OXFAM said the hours reported for men, are much higher compared to Oxfam’s 2017 Household Care Survey, which involved 541 individuals from Cotabato, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat.

The 2017 survey revealed that women spent 12 hours a day on care work while men spent only five hours on such tasks.

“While the coverage of the two surveys is not exactly the same, it was expected that time spent on care work would increase for men, especially since many were forced to stay and even work at home,” said Leah Payud. Resilience Portfolio Manager at Oxfam Philippines. She added it is disappointing that there is still inequality at home and that the bulk of unpaid care work still falls on women.

The private sector will also need to contribute improved workplace policies such as increased parental leaves, flexible work and employer-supported childcare.

More than half or 7 out of 13 hours spend by women on care work involves multi-taking or juggling at least two activities at the same time.

On the average, according to the survey, Filipino women spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with care work as their primary activity. This involves activities such as fetching water, doing laundry or taking care of sick family members. This is almost three hours more than men who spend an average of 2.43 hours a day with care work as their primary activity. (Melo M. Acuña)

Women find employment everywhere but the bigger challenge is how to make both ends meet. (Melo M., Acuna)

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