Value of women’s house work evaluated

Vietnamese women spend up to thrice as much time on unpaid housework compared to men, according to a recent survey conducted by Healthbrigde Canada and the Institute for Social Development Studies.

The results of their survey of women’s economic contribution through unpaid work was unveiled this week in Ha Noi.


According to the survey, wives spend between 5.09 hours to 5.66 hours per day doing housework, while husbands spend between 1.38 to 2.04 hours o­n the same.


A woman in Ha Dong City said, "not all domestic tasks can be given an economic value. As far as caring for children is concerned, you can’t hire some-one in to look after them with the same love as their parents."


"A woman’s monthly unpaid work is worth at least 30 per cent of per capita income in Ha Tay Province. Even when undervalued or invisible in national economic data, the domestic work contribution of our women is important to the economy," said vice director of the Institute for Social Development Studies Khuat Thu Hong.


Though respondents all said that both men and women living in cities or rural areas could do housework, it continued to be mainly undertaken by women; and other family members, especially men, fulfilled o­nly a "helper" role, according to the survey.


"House work is a real, visible and economically effective form of employment, and the value of people doing such work should be enhanced," said Hong.


The survey studied 598 individuals in 299 households, aged between 20-49 in Nguyen Trai Ward, Ha Dong City and Dai Dong Commune, Thach That District, Ha Tay Province.


The survey is under the framework of a project entitled Promoting Male Responsibility Towards Greater Gender Equality, funded by Healthbridge Canada.


The project, which was carried out in Viet Nam, India and Bangladesh, and aims to improve gender equality, focuses especially o­n the involvement of men in reproductive health care and sharing housework with women.


The project was carried out in Ha Noi, Bac Ninh and Ha Tay Provinces from October 2004 to March 2008.

Where the project has been undertaken, the knowledge of people and leaders (especially men) have been remarkably improved. Men’s responsibility o­n family planning, and the abilities of local women and farming societies have been likewise enhanced.