Report: Women Spend Five Times More Hours on Unpaid Work than Men


A report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has revealed that Kenyans with a population age of 15 years and above spend about 12.2 per cent of their day (about 3 hours) on unpaid domestic and care work.

The 2021 Kenya Time Use Survey further notes that on average, women spend approximately 5 hours per day on unpaid work, which is about five times more than men (about 1 hour).

Overall, women spend approximately 7 times more time on unpaid care work (2.4 %) than men (0.4%) and about 5 times more (16.3%) on unpaid domestic work than their male counterparts (3.2%).

The burden of unpaid work is highest for women in Marsabit county (30.2% approximately 7 hours) followed by Wajir (26.8%) Samburu (24.2%), Mandera (23.8%) and Garissa (23.7%) counties.

In addition, the proportion of time spent on unpaid work by girls aged 15-17 years, is thrice as much (14.0%) as that of boys (4.1%) in the same age group.

Elderly women aged 60 years and above spend about three hours (13.0%) on unpaid domestic and care work, while their male counterparts spent about an hour (3.2%) at the national level, the survey revealed.

Gender equality

KNBS notes that the 2021 Kenya Time Use Survey Report is the first of its kind to be produced for Kenya.

Time-use surveys are important sources of information on how women and men spend their time on different activities over a specified period. Time-use data is useful in supporting policies and programmes in the areas of gender equality, family, social, transport and culture and measuring the value of household production as well as for international comparisons,” notes the agency’s board of directors chairman Stephen Wainaina.

The production of this report was motivated by the need to measure both paid and unpaid work to obtain indicators to be used in monitoring and evaluating gender policies aimed at achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Kenya,” he added.

The report provides insights into the economic value of unpaid work, barriers and incentives to labour force participation, changing labour force practices, the balance between work and other roles, health and wellbeing, volunteering and other community participation, and transport and infrastructure planning.

According to KNBS, the survey targeted a population aged 15 years and above drawn from all 47 counties. The sample size was 24,000 households sampled from 1,500 Enumeration Areas drawn from the Kenya Household Master Sample Frame (K-HMSF) that had been developed from the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census.

Overall, 16,945 households and 24,004 individuals participated and successfully completed the survey module resulting in household and individual response rates of 86.8 per cent and 82.5 per cent, respectively.

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