Maybe you’ve heard of it, or maybe not, but you definitely have experienced it in your daily life, be it as a woman, wife or a mom. Especially as a mom, if I may add. Just like the “gender wage gap”, where men are statistically paid more than women across the globe, so is the “time poverty” gender gap. It might not seem as pressing as the gender pay gap, but its effects are just as impactful.
Back in February, Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter, in which the philanthropist couple revealed their goals for the upcoming year, and answered some funny questions asked by some high school students in Kentucky. When asked which superpower they would love to have, Bill wished for more energy, whereas Melinda wanted to have more time. Trying to keep up with their foundation business and their kids’ schedules, their answer came very familiar to most parents. According to Melinda, time is a luxury most women don’t have, since globally they spend a disproportionate amount of time doing unpaid work – like cleaning, cooking, and caring for the children. (the three C’s.)
“Now, this work has to be done by somebody. But it’s overwhelmingly women who are expected to do it, for free, whether they want to or not.”
On average, women spend 4.5 hours a day doing unpaid work, while men spend less than half that amount of time. In underdeveloped nations, the gap is even wider. “Unpaid work is what it says it is: It’s work, not play, and you don’t get any money for doing it. But every society needs it to function. You can think of unpaid work as falling into three main categories: cooking, cleaning, and caring for children and the elderly. Who packs your lunch? Who fishes the sweaty socks out of your gym bag? Who hassles the nursing home to make sure your grandparents are getting what they need?”, writes Melinda in her essay.
American “We are Glory” blogger Steven Nelms is one of the men that appreciate women’s “unpaid work” and was curious to find out how much she would earn if her household duties and child care were done professionally – and the results are not surprising. Steven’s wife is a stay-at-home mom and looks after their 2-year old son, while she does everything else in the house. Steven showed his respect, and calculated the price for each of her chores ( cleaning: 50-100 $/week, personal shopper: 65 $/ 4 h a week, chef: 240 $/ week, laundry: 25 $/ week, nanny: 75 $/ week). With these estimated costs, he came down to 73.960 $ a year, that’s about 6,165 $ a month! So the family should have to pay 6 thousand dollars a month if they would hire a nany and a house maid. This is how much WE (women who stay at home and do EVERYTHING) are worth! Ladies, chapeau. Now, where’s my paycheck?
Less time means that women around the world have less of a chance of getting a good education, earning more money, and participating in health-related activities, such as going to the doctor. I, as a mother, have definitely come across these issues, and am not happy about them. Still, there can be solutions to this.
Watch Melinda Gates’s video below, in which she proposes a solution to the problem.
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