Gender pay gap linked to unpaid household chores during childhood


Newswise – The time young women and girls spend on unpaid housework contributes to the gender pay gap, according to new research from the Universities of East Anglia (UEA), Birmingham and Brunel.

Research shows that women’s later participation in employment is affected by the burden of this caregiving burden during childhood, thus adding to existing inequality gaps in the countries studied.

The study, “The contribution of girls’ longer hours in unpaid work to gender gaps in young adult employment: evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam,” is published today in the journal feminist economics.

The research team looked at data from the Young Lives Project, a longitudinal cohort study of child poverty following the lives of 12,000 children from India, Ethiopia, Peru and Vietnam. Indian sample data are from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.

By following the lives of children aged 8 to 22, the research team analyzed participation in employment in any paid job and any sector (including agriculture), type of employment and wages .

According to UNICEF, girls spend 40% more time on household chores than boys. Unequal shares of household chores are very important for girls and linked to wider inequalities such as access to running water, which determines the amount of work needed.

The amount and nature of household chores influence girls’ school attendance, reduce their study time and therefore may limit their future employment opportunities.

Policy to tackle gender inequality in paid work must take into account unpaid work during childhood, said UEA’s Dr Nicholas Vasilakos. Investing in youth employment is at the heart of development agendas and would help countries achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of decent work for all by 2030.

Dr Vasilakos, associate professor of sustainable business economics and public policy at UEA’s Norwich Business School, said: “Unequal participation in housework begins at a young age, widening differences over time. of time suggests gendered trajectories.”

Professor Fiona Carmichael, Professor of Labor Economics at Birmingham Business School, said: “Longer hours of unpaid domestic work which reduces girls’ study time may therefore limit their future lives by limiting opportunities for ‘use.

“This confirms that the burden of caring for women from their largest share of domestic work begins in childhood.”

At age 22, there was already a gender gap in employment participation (85.72% male versus 70.64% female). Moreover, the hourly wage of women at 1.46 USD/hour is significantly lower (p=0.001) than that of men at 1.77 USD/hour.

Domestic work is negatively related to job quality – both job type and income – said Dr Christian Darko, senior lecturer in applied business and labor economics at the University of Birmingham .

Professor Shireen Kanji, Professor of Human Resource Management at Brunel University London, said: “It appears that compared to men, women’s employment is likely to be driven more by lack of choice or need, and is characterized by fewer opportunities. for a well-paid and better job.

However, the study found that girls whose parents have higher aspirations for them at age 12 have a better chance of getting a better paying job at age 22.

“The contribution of girls’ longer hours in unpaid work to gender gaps in young adult employment: evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam”, is published in the journal feminist economics July 22, 2022. DOI 10.1080/13545701.2022.2084559


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