A girl helps prepare her familys evening meal, outside their makeshift home, in the Majo camp for displaced people, in Mogadishu, the capital. UNICEF, in partnership with Somali Community Concern, is supporting two schools, collectively serving over 800 children, in the camp. In July 2012, Somalia marked one year since famine was declared in parts of the country, amid the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in 60 years. While affected areas have since emerged from famine, conditions remain critical, and the country’s already decades-long conflict continues with no end in sight. A third of Somalis are currently in need of emergency assistance, and over one fifth of under-five children are suffering from malnutrition. By mid-June, over 992,000 Somalis had sought refuge in neighbouring countries, many of which are undergoing their own food crises, while 1.3 million had been internally displaced. Of these, over 127,000 have settled in war-torn Mogadishu, the capital. In the past year, UNICEF has treated over 455,000 acutely malnourished children under age 5; helped nearly 2.7 million people gain access to clean water and over 1.2 million to healthcare facilities; provided over 380,000 children with access to UNICEF-supported schools and over 37,000 to child-friendly spaces, where services include psychosocial assistance; and sent more than 27,000 tonnes of supplies to affected areas. UNICEF requires US$162.2 million for its ongoing work in Somalia throughout 2012, over 60 per cent of which remains unfunded.
A girl helps prepare her family’s evening meal, outside their makeshift home, in the Majo camp for displaced people, in Mogadishu, the capital.

NEW YORK, October 11, 2016 – Girls between 5 and 14 years old spend 40 per cent more time, or 160 million more hours a day, on unpaid household chores and collecting water and firewood compared to boys their age, according to a report released by UNICEF ahead of International Day of the Girl on 11 October.

Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls: Taking stock and looking ahead to 2030 includes the first global estimates on the time girls spend doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, caring for family members and collecting water and firewood.

Read the report: https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Harnessing-the-Power-of-Data-for-Girls-Brochure-2016-1-1.pdf

The data show that the disproportionate burden of domestic work begins early, with girls between 5 and 9 years old spending 30 per cent more time, or 40 million more hours a day, on household chores than boys their age. The disparities grow as girls get older, with 10 to 14 year olds spending 50 per cent more time, or 120 million more hours each day.

“The overburden of unpaid household work begins in early childhood and intensifies as girls reach adolescence,” said UNICEF’s Principal Gender Advisor Anju Malhotra.  “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 report notes that girls’ work is less visible and often undervalued. Too often adult responsibilities such as caring for family members, including other children, are imposed on girls. Time spent on chores limits a girl’s time to play, socialize with friends, study and be a child. In some countries, collecting firewood and water puts girls at risk of sexual violence.

The report also found that:

  • Girls between 10 and 14 years old in South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa spend nearly double the amount of time on household chores compared to boys.
  • The countries where girls between 10 and 14 years old bear the most disproportionate burden of household chores compared to boys are: Burkina Faso, Yemen and Somalia.
  • 10 to 14 year-old girls in Somalia spend the most amount of time on household chores in total: 26 hours every week.

“Quantifying the challenges girls face is the first critical step towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality and breaking down barriers that confront the world’s 1.1 billion girls,” said UNICEF Chief of Data and Analytics Attila Hancioglu.

Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls: Taking stock and looking ahead to 2030 notes that   In addition to household chores, the report presents data on girl-related issues addressed by the SDGs including violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation and education. Achieving the SDGs that address these issues and empowering girls with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to reach their full potential, is not only good for girls, but can drive economic growth, promote peace and reduce poverty

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org

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