Gender stereotypes in African children show shocking labor disparity

Girls are 40 percent more likely to carry out household chores than boys which can inhibit their enjoyment of childhood.

UNICEF have issued a report that looks into the amount of time African girls spend doing chores and in total it’s a staggering 160 million more hours a day than their male peers.

The aim of the report is to quantify the burden set upon girls from a young age to carry out unpaid work – something that transpires into adulthood. The societal idea of gender that boys shouldn’t do as much of the share is a large problem that can inhibit many girls in their schoolwork and quality of life.

The report indicates that girls between the ages of 5 and 14 are 40 percent more likely to spend their time carrying out household chores than boys with activities such as caring for family members, cooking, cleaning, and collecting water or firewood. This limits their time to socialize, play with friends and study which can seriously hinder their enjoyment of childhood.

“The overburden of unpaid household work begins in early childhood and intensifies as girls reach adolescence,” said Anju Malhotra, Principal Gender Advisor at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a press release.“As a result, girls sacrifice important opportunities to learn, grow and just enjoy their childhood. This unequal distribution of labour among children also perpetuates gender stereotypes and the double-burden on women and girls across generations.”

The data also indicates that most of the work that girls carry out is assumed and undervalued as well as exposing them to dangerous situations such as sexual assaults in some countries.

The report is part of the United Nations’ “Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls: Taking stock and looking ahead to 2030” project. It aims to break down gender gaps and promote gender equality throughout the world by presenting data on issues faced by girls including violence, female genital mutilation and education.

They hope that by addressing these issues girls can become empowered to break chains and reach their full potential through knowledge and skills.

You can download more information on the UN project “Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls” on their website.

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