The pandemic has made men more involved in home work, but…

Published June 24, 2021, 3:31 PM

by Marie Buenaventura

Women are still taking on more

Filipinas are still spending more time taking care of the house and its inhabitants—women’s 13 hours compared to men’s eight.

Women know it. Feel it. Think it. But now, an actual survey has confirmed what women know for certain in their hearts—Pinays are still doing more of unpaid home and care work.

Despite COVID-19 mooring our men at home, Filipinas are still spending more time taking care of the house and its inhabitants—women’s 13 hours compared to men’s eight.

The 2021 National Household Care Survey, commissioned by Oxfam Philippines and partner organizations, involved 1,177 individuals from randomly sampled households in Cagayan, Metro Manila, Masbate, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. The survey was funded by Oxfam Philippines and rolled out in collaboration with the Philippine Commission on Women, WeEEmpowerAsia, University of the Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Planet Cora, PATAMABA, SIMCARRD, COM, and the Local Government Unit of Salcedo and Eastern Samar.

A good sign and a positive thing to note, however, is that the hours reported, especially for men, are much higher compared to Oxfam’s 2017 Household Care Survey, which polled 541 individuals from Cotabato, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat.

The 2017 survey showed then that women spent 12 hours a day on care work while men spent only five hours on such tasks. The three extra hours are still welcome change!

“While the coverage of the two surveys is not exactly the same, it was expected that time spent on care work would increase for men, especially since many were forced to stay and even work at home,” said Leah Payud, resilience portfolio manager of Oxfam Philippines. “It is, however, disappointing that there is still inequality at home and that the bulk of unpaid care work still falls on women.”

Private companies can help balance this inequality by increasing parental leaves and offering flexible work and childcare.

We don’t need a survey to tell us this, but it did confirm that out of the 13 backbreaking hours, seven are spent by women just multitasking, trying to do two or more activities at the same time. Other discoveries include Pinays spending an average of 6.5 hours a day doing care work—fetching water, doing laundry, taking care of sick family members—compared to men who only log in 2.43 hours a day doing it.

“We’re hoping that more men, especially those from the younger generations, would start to take on care work and challenge social norms,” Payud said.

She said there is also a need for institutional changes such as legislation or policies that support the care economy. With hope, this will improve care-related services such as water systems, health care delivery, and day care services that will result in the redistribution of care tasks and recognition of the importance of care work for both men and women.