Gendered Patterns of Unpaid Care and Domestic Work in the Urban Informal Settlements of Nairobi, Kenya: Findings from a Household Care Survey – 2019

Publication date

19 Nov 2019

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Care work is essential for individuals, society and the economy. However, it is overwhelmingly done by women and girls, which restricts their ability to participate in education, paid work, politics and community life. In low-resource settings, fetching water or preparing food can be particularly burdensome. 

In 2018–2019, Oxfam's Women's Economic Empowerment and Care (WE-Care) programme conducted a Household Care Survey (HCS) in five informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya, to understand the gendered patterns of unpaid care and domestic work across these communities. The study finds that women spend considerably more time than men on unpaid care work per day. It also finds that access to nearby water sources and health care, and ownership of fuel and washing-related equipment, are all associated with reduced hours of care work for women. In addition, community expectations and fear of sanctions for deviating from social norms play an important role in maintaining the gendered division of care work. 

The report presents recommendations for government, the private sector and development practitioners on how they can contribute to the recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work.