GENDER ROLES

Men not willing to wash clothes, clean house prefer babysitting - report

71 per cent of men have never seen another man wash clothes.

In Summary

• 73 per cent of women are currently satisfied with how unpaid care work is shared across the household. 

• Unpaid care is thought to be a woman's responsibility with less than 10 per cent of them asking men for regular help with care tasks. 

A father and his child.
A father and his child.
Image: FILE

Men are not willing to wash or iron clothes, clean the house or collect firewood or fuel 50 per cent of the time they are requested to do so by women, a new report shows.

However, they were more willing to take care of children (35 per cent) or collect water (24 per cent). 

"This could suggest that men evaluate the perceived social acceptability of males performing the task in question when deciding whether or not to help their partners with it," it reads. 

The Oxfam led survey was conducted between October 2018 and March 2019 in five informal settlements in Nairobi—Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru, Kawangware, and Korogcho.

A total of 328 women, 42 men and 93 children (48 male and 45 female) took part in the study.

It shows 71 per cent of men have never seen another man wash clothes while 62 per cent have never seen another man clean the house according to the latest household survey. 

"45 per cent had never seen another man prepare meals, and 38 per cent had never seen another man take care of siblings," read the report. 

However, when it came to primary and any care, men whose fathers cooked when they were children tended to more primary care while men who had been taught to look after children performed more care. 

Primary care work entails the number of hours spent on unpaid care work as a primary activity while any care is the number of hours spent on unpaid care work as either a primary or secondary activity. 

Leaving food cooking while tending to farm animals, supervising children while watching television or supervising children while selling products in the market are examples of any care which may often go unnoticed. 

 

Despite women spending five hours on household chores compared to men who spend one, the survey states 73 per cent of women are currently satisfied with how unpaid care work is shared across the household. 

"Yet when asked whether men should do unpaid care work, an even greater majority of women (83%) affirmed that men should do unpaid care work, " read the report. 

The contradiction highlights the strong role of social norms in shaping perceptions about gender roles and responsibilities.

Unpaid care is thought to be a woman's responsibility with less than 10 per cent of them asking men for regular help with care tasks. 

"Further, even when women did ask for men’s assistance, they reported that 50% of the time men were not willing to help with tasks such as washing/ironing clothes, cleaning the house/compound and collecting fuel," read the report. 

The report recommended increasing recognition of the value and significance of unpaid care work among communities and the country at large. 

"... and of the importance of reducing and redistributing care work in order that women realize their full potential as human beings," the report read.