MEN have been urged to participate in unpaid care work and domestic work so as to help lessen the energy women spend on domestic chores which holds them back in their paid jobs and careers.
This comes after the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the increase of unpaid care work that women have to do since most people are working from home.
Speaking in a recent zoom meeting organised by Southern Africa HIV and Aids Information Dissemination Service (SAfAids), Eunice Njovane, the former chairperson of Anti-Domestic Violence Council in Zimbabwe said women were burdened by domestic chores due to working from home.
“The Covid-19 pandemic reflected that we have a challenge of women being burdened by care work. It has escalated the work of girls and women in the home space. Because we spend most of our time home together, there is more cleaning, more of fetching water and more of caring for the sick done by women,” said Njovane.
She urged men to assist with household chores so as to relieve women of some of the work.
“It’s important that men be sensitive in terms of the division of unpaid care work and take part in some of the work.
“For married couples it’s important to complement each other and not to compete or over burden each other.
Sharing care work is part of mutual respect and helps couples to live in harmony together,” said Njovane.
A representative of the World Council of Churches in Southern Africa, Professor Ezra Chitando, said women were the only ones being burdened with care work because most people had taken religion and culture to justify men’s absence from unpaid care work.
“The problem is most people use religion to support men’s dominance in society. For example, there are verses from the Bible which are used to silence women completely. Some people misquote scripture and tend to say because they are the head of the house they should be served and they can never serve. If churches would do more in promoting gender equality in care work then we would see more boys and men being involved in unpaid care work,” said Chitando.
The executive director of Sivio Institute, Tendai Murisa said men should embrace household chores and whenever they do duties in the house like washing dishes they should not assume that they were doing women a favour.