UN: Women of Africa Carry More


According to Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, past recessions show that women face a “disproportionate burden” during financial crises because of the type of employment they typically hold. Research shows that women in some parts of Tanzania walk 5-10k per day collecting wood for fuel; in rural India, wood collection “can amount to over 3 hours a day.”  The loads of wood, which are a “burden on time and body,” average between 20kg and 38kg.

Men in the Caribbean appear more chivalrous than their African and Asian counterparts, carrying water buckets more often than their women.  It may be that chivalry has nothing to do with it, however: a UNICEF survey finds that “Women’s responsibility for water collection tends to coincide with poor access to water, thus suggesting a high time burden on women.” In Somalia and Gambia, where less than 35% of households have access to water on site, women hold much of the responsibility of water collection/carrying.  In countries such as Cuba and Jamaica, where more than 70% of households have access to water on premises, men tend to chip in a little more. In essence, if the water is easy enough to get, the men will (sometimes) get it. Who Answers to Women?  Gender and Accountability (p.36-pdf)

Leave a Reply