Vietnam Time

3/9/2018 10:17:01 PM

Unpaid care work: Redistribution for sustainable development

(VNF) - On March 7th, in Hanoi, the Department of Gender Equality under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and ActionAid Vietnam (AAV), announed the report "Unpaid care work: Redistribution for sustainable development".

The report is part of a series of studies on unpaid care work (UCW) that ActionAid and its partners have implemented since 2015, to improve understanding of UCW and make recommendations for equitable distribution. The study series was conducted through nine time diary surveys in nine provinces and cities in Vietnam, from 2016 to 2017.

The conference overview. (Source: Thuy Linh/VNF)

Research shows that women spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on UCW, 32 hours a week, 207 days a year. Thus, every year women spend nearly 7 months on UCW. If this job is paid at the minimum wage, women can earn VND 2.56 million (USD 112) a month and over VND 30 million (USD 1.320) a year. This is the number that has been mentioned in both studies on unpaid work that has been implemented by AAV and its partners including "When the house become a home" in 2016 and "Love is Sharing "in 2017. Speaking figures are again highlighted in this new report which shows the effect of unequal distribution of UCW on women, men, society and economy.

This report also includes the following figures: 54 working days per year are the time a woman in a district in Ha Giang can save if she can access clean water and sanitation; 50 hours per month are the average time a woman has children under 6 years of age for child care; Five million hours a month are the time when women can save if the government and the private sector invest more than 100,000 kindergartens; VND 1.1 trillion (USD 48.4 million) annually is the contribution of women to the economy each year if they invest time in paid care, rather than on unpaid work. At the same time, women can raise their family income by VND 920,000 (USD 40.48) a month.

Equality between men and women in unpaid care work improved over the three phases

In Phase 1, women in this comparison group did over two hours per day (132 minutes) more UCW than men. By Phase 3, this figure had dropped to 102 minutes per day. The results in Phase 3 continued the results from Phase 1 and 2: both women and men spent most of their time on housework, and least time on caring for adults. The results show that the greatest reduction in time on unpaid care work over the project was that women reduced the time they spent on housework by 25 minutes between Phase 1 and Phase 3. Large reductions were also seen in the amount of time women spent collecting fuel and water (22 minutes per day).

Women in ActionAid Vietnam’s research spent less time on unpaid care work and more time on paid work compared to women in ActionAid research overseas.  For example, in a multi-country ActionAid study in Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, women spent between 358 minutes per day (Nepal) and 509 minutes per day (Uganda) on unpaid care work. In contrast, men in AAV’s research undertook more unpaid care work than men in Nepal and Uganda, less than men in Nigeria, and around the same amount as men in Kenya (167 minutes per day).

These differences can partly be explained by participation in paid work – women in Vietnam had a significantly greater participation in paid work than women in the other four countries – spending nearly double the amount of time as women in Nepal and Nigeria in paid work. Differences in levels of rural development and average incomes, as well as cultural factors, between these countries, are also likely to be influential. Vietnam’s relatively lower levels of unpaid care work and higher levels of paid work for women are hopeful signs for the possibility of even greater change in this area.

Delegate take part in the consultation workshop. (Source: Thuy Linh/VNF)

Reallocation and sharing of UCW between men and women

From reflecting the current status of inequality in the allocation of UCW between men and women, this report considers the reallocation of UCW and makes recommendations on reallocation of work, gender-sensitive public service to improve gender equality in Vietnam.

Accordingly, the report argues that the government should consider the involvement of women in paid and unpaid work and consider redistribution of UCW in the paid care economy, especially in childcare and care of the elderly. Increasing the scope of the paid care economy in Vietnam can create more paid jobs for women and reduce the burden of unpaid care.

In addition, there is a need to reallocate resources at the local level that improve household access to water (such as installation of household water tanks and piped water) and improved fuel (such as rural electrification or cooking fuel subsidies), reducing the burden of UCW for both men and women, especially women, giving them time to participate in other economic activities, thereby removing economic barriers and accessing public services.

"In addition, the redistribution of UCW requires redistribution of family and social power, through communication and awareness raising activities. It is time to change social stereotypes ‘Men are the family's backbone”, leading to unpaid work and underestimation. Inequality can only be resolved if the solutions emerge from the family and society," said Nguyen Phuong Thuy, AAV representative./.

Translated by Chau Pham  
[ Back ]

Send comment