Women Work Four Years Longer Than Men, Unpaid

Worldwide, women work an average of four years longer than men because of additional unpaid responsibilities, like housework and childcare, according to a new report. Four years.

Imagine what you could do with four years. You could travel the world, write a book, master a new skill or watch absolutely everything on Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with caring for others and we all have to do chores at some point, but women globally are doing more than their share and missing opportunities to do literally anything else.

The report was created by ActionAid, an organization fighting global poverty, and presented to the United Nations today. Using World Bank data for 217 countries and an average life expectancy of 69 years, researchers analyzed the total amount of paid and unpaid work for men and women globally. They subtracted the total number of hours men work from women’s hours and found a huge gap—due to women doing additional unpaid work—that even pay equality can’t fix.

“The focus of the inequality debate generally has been on reducing income inequality,” said ActionAid in an announcement. “But this ignores the fact that inequality has a more severe impact on women.”

In the U.S., women spend four hours every day on unpaid work while men spend about half that time. This trend starts early; American girls spend two hours more per week on chores and are less likely to be paid for them. The gap in unpaid work widens in developing countries.

“Women have this burden of unpaid work that wraps around their entire day,” Lucia Fry, policy lead at ActionAid, told Broadly. “Crucially, it limits their opportunities to earn an income, so what we find is that women are often in precarious, vulnerable forms of labor they can fit around their responsibilities.”

Of course, even when women are paid for their work, they’re paid unfairly. Two new reports shed new light on the pay gap that make the situation seem even more dire.

While it’s common knowledge that women earn less than men, a new analysis shows this is the case even when men have less experience than women. The report states that men with two years of post-college work earn more than women with six years of experience.

“We know there’s a wage gap, we know that it grows over time,” said Antoinette Flores, a policy analyst and author of the report, “but the fact that 10 years later, women still haven’t caught up to where men are at 6 years is shocking.”

There are some people who like to blame this disparity on women themselves, saying that if women were just more assertive, they’d get the pay they deserved. Some even think if women just hold out for “good karma,” pay will work itself out.

Turns out, neither idea is very accurate or helpful. A new study by three universities showed that women were 25 percent less likely than men to get a raise when they asked for one, leading the researchers to conclude that it’s discrimination, not women’s lack of assertiveness, keeping them from acquiring raises.

Women around the world face a double burden, earning less money for their paid work and doing far more that’s unpaid in addition to other forms of inequality.

“We need progressive taxation, minimum wages, decent public services, equal pay legislation and early childcare and education,” explains Fry.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

91 comments

Jack Y
Jack Yabout a year ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a year ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Tania N.
Tania N2 years ago

hope things will change soon!

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Charmaine M.
Charmaine M2 years ago

I always knew that if I was to become a mom and take on ^parenthood, I would put my whole heart and soul into it and I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom as my mom was. It is really the most important job on the planet and we as women should be honoured and priveledged to be in the position of being able to be moms. Most men dont have the priveledge and honour.

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Charmaine M.
Charmaine M2 years ago

Yes I absolutely agree with Twila H. I love being a stay at home mom and it is worth more than any one can pay me. My rewards are with the Best of those that give reward, Allah!

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Twila H.
Twila H2 years ago

I reckon I must have missed the feminist wagon somewhere. The most important job I have ever had was being called a MOM!

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natasha salgado
Past Member 2 years ago

Brutal. We need more women in power/politics to help change this among so many other injustices. It really pisses me off that still in 2016 there has been very lil progress in the equality dept.

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Women are not "baby machines".

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Gabriel Lautaro
Gabriel Lautaro2 years ago

The same would be true for animals. Motherhood is part of the natural world not "unpaid work". No one wants to mention that men work harder & more dangerous jobs & therefore die younger than women. I see these articles as promoting the depopulation agenda. Trying to convince women to not follow their maternal instinct & have babies. This is one reason women in western "civilizations" are less happy now with all their financial independence than they have been in recorder history. Women (& men) like family. Family brings more sustained happiness than "traveling the world" or "watching netflix".

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