A study following the lives of children living in India, Ethiopia, Peru, and Vietnam found that young girls subjected to unpaid household chores earn less income at work.
Researchers at the Universities of East Anglia, Birmingham and Brunel examined data from 12,000 children ages eight to 22 involved in all types of wages and employment within any sector, including agriculture. Their findings were based on data from the Young Lives project and published in the journal of Feminist Economics earlier this week.
Young women and girls preoccupied with household chores are often too busy to focus on their academic studies, which can lead to fewer job opportunities in the future. Additionally, the dynamic of girls being more involved in the household over their male counterparts can set up “gendered trajectories” that widen wage differences.
Hourly wages in the countries studied for women at the age of 22 averaged to US$1.46 per hour while men earned US$1.77. Women are also less likely to be employed at that age, with only 70 per cent employed compared to 85 per cent of men.
One of the study’s lead professor, Shireen Kanji, indicated the employment of women in these countries is also often driven by necessity, which could lead to lower-paying jobs.
“It seems that in comparison to men, women’s employment is likely to be driven to a greater extent by lack of choice or by need, and is characterized by fewer opportunities for well-paid, higher-quality employment,” she said in a news release.
Ultimately, the researchers hope their findings lead to policy action on gender inequality.
According to Save the Children, gender norms can also pose harm to young children outside of their employment. Over 575 million girls are faced with inequitable gender norms that can contribute to gender-based violence and infringe on their rights to health, education and marriage.
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