Cooking and Cleaning as Life Skills, nothing to do with Gender.

Taking care of your stuff is a life skill and it shouldn’t be embarrassing to do so. The girls mostly are indulged in household chores irrespective of boys. Girls between 5 and 14 years old spend 40 percent additional time, or 160 million more hours a day, on unpaid household duties and collecting water and firewood compared with boys of their age, according to a report released by UNICEF ahead of International Day of the Girl on 11 October. This appropriate data shows the disproportionate burden on girls that begins at an early age of 5. Girls between 5 and 9 of age devote approximately 40 million more hours a day in the household tasks as compared to boys. As the age increases, the time spent also increases with girls of 10 to 14 years old contributing 120 million more hours each day. 

Deepening gender gap as household works are girls responsibilities!

“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 labor among children also perpetuates gender stereotypes and the double-burden on women and girls across generations.” The report also states that the efforts of girls are less valued and even not noticeable by the society. They can’t enjoy their life, socialize and devote time to studying as that of boys. 

Story of a girl who was raped while traveling to the market.

Heading to or from the market, collecting firewood and water often leaves women and girls at risk of rape. A sixteen-year-old girl who was raped while traveling from her village to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, described the attack on Human Rights.

[I was with] a group of girls traveling from our village to Nyala….I had a brother working in the market and I wanted to collect some goods from him. Some of us were traveling on donkeys and others were walking. Suddenly the Janjaweed attacked us; they took our money and our donkeys. The majority [of the girls] managed to escape; me, my cousin and my sister were captured. They took all our topes and veils, they left us only with our dresses. We were screaming. I was taken with my younger cousin to the wood; I don’t know where they took my sister. One of them forced me on the ground and all the time I was resisting them….all the time one of the Janjaweed kept his gun pointed at my head. They started raping me. I was bleeding heavily but could do nothing. It was so painful, but fear was even more than pain. Four of them raped me.

The point is, there are numerous crimes of sexual assault that are committed when girls and women go for collecting firewood or water.

Safety and responsibilities begin at home!

A college in Spain introduced ‘Home Economics’ as a compulsory subject.

This idea of household chores as women’s responsibility is not anymore completely true. This Spanish school is attempting to improve this thinking by introducing”Home Economics”. Colegio Montecastelo, an institute located in Vigo, a town near North-Western Spain. The initiative was started as just a cooking class but later it was appreciated and hence skills of washing, ironing, and keeping a tidy house were added. Now, Colegio Montecastelo is intending to expand access to this course while different institutions in Spain have begun to develop their example by giving such classes to develop everyday life skills for students.

Will this initiative become a big win for gender equality?