Rwandan women: the burden of unpaid care work

The average rural woman in Rwanda spends seven hours per day doing unpaid care work, while her urban counterpart spends…

The average rural woman in Rwanda spends seven hours per day doing unpaid care work, while her urban counterpart spends six hours and nine minutes as opposed to men who only spent two hours per day, a survey finds.The baseline survey was conducted by UN Women Rwanda on unpaid care work status among women and men within 8 districts in the country.

A report from the survey seen by APA on Wednesday says this inequality is considered as one of the factors hindering women’s ability to thrive, considering the time they spend engaging in unpaid care work denies them enough time on income generating activities.

With partnership and financial support from UN WOMEN, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), a local NGO has worked towards challenging cultural gender norms that prevent men and boys to be involved in reproductive work which constitutes a big barrier to women’s economic empowerment.

To date, RWAMREC in partnership with three districts in Rwanda, Ngoma, Kirehe and Nyaruguru districts successfully conducted activities including a project introductory meeting at district level, and training workshop of 40 male and female community leaders on male involvement in unpaid care work. 

This activity is part of a project under UN Women’s transformative approaches to recognize, reduce and redistribute Unpaid Care Work project through male involvement in unpaid care and domestic work, funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Nyiramayira Donatile, a mother of 7 children, resides in Nyaruguru district, with her husband of 27 years says: “I used to wake up and sweep, cut grass for cows, harvest sweet potatoes, gather firewood, then cook and sometimes the sun could set still with pending things to do.”

Nyiramayira narrates that her husband was a drunkard, and he squandered their finances after selling their goats and wood without consulting her, behavours which offended her.

She affirms that RWAMREC’s lessons are just on time saying, “They alleviated my stress, whenever it clocked 3 am in the morning my mind was wondering what my children shall eat along with my list of basic necessities.”

“I’m rejoicing due to the harmony we have now, unlike before when we never reasoned together, today we sit and deliberate together,” she says.

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