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Unpaid Domestic Work in India



  Mar 27, 2024

Unpaid Domestic Work in India



1. What constitutes unpaid domestic work?

Unpaid domestic work includes a wide range of activities carried out within the household, such as food preparation, cleaning, maintenance, care of children and the elderly, shopping for the household, and transporting goods or people within the family context.

2. How does the unpaid domestic workload differ between men and women in India?

In India, women undertake unpaid domestic chores and caregiving responsibilities almost ten times more than men. This is a much higher disparity compared to the global average, where women perform three times more unpaid domestic work than men.

3. Does the burden of unpaid domestic work affect women of all social backgrounds equally in India?

No, the study reveals that married women, particularly those from upper-caste Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh communities, face a higher burden of unpaid domestic work. The impact of unpaid domestic chores also varies with the family structure, presence of children, and whether the household is nuclear or multigenerational.

4. What is the impact of education on the distribution of unpaid domestic work?

Educated women tend to manage their workload more efficiently. However, the burden of unpaid domestic work is significantly higher for urban women with secondary education compared to their rural counterparts, indicating that educational attainment does not uniformly reduce the workload across different settings.

5. How does the presence of children affect the amount of unpaid domestic work done by women?

The presence of school-age children significantly increases the amount of time women spend on unpaid domestic chores. Women living in nuclear families also tend to have higher levels of unpaid work compared to those in multigenerational households.

6. Is there an economic value to unpaid domestic work?

Yes, although unpaid domestic work is not counted as part of formal economic activity, its contribution is substantial. If accounted for, the value of unpaid domestic chores and caregiving could amount to approximately 10 to 60% of the GDP globally.

7. How does living in urban or rural areas affect the time spent on unpaid domestic work?

Urban women, particularly those with no education, are more likely to spend time on unpaid domestic work than their rural counterparts. This suggests that urbanization and lack of education contribute to an increased burden of unpaid domestic tasks.

8. Does the caste system influence the distribution of unpaid domestic work?

Yes, women from Scheduled Caste (SC), Other Backward Caste (OBC), and general caste categories spend more time on unpaid domestic chores than Scheduled Tribe (ST) women, who are more engaged in paid work. This indicates that social stratification affects the distribution of unpaid domestic work among women in India.

For more detailed insights and analysis, referring to the study conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) is recommended.


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