Snehal V. Soneji, Country Director, Oxfam in Bangladesh and M.B. Akhter, Program Manager, Oxfam in Bangladesh also spoke on the occasion. Simeen Mahmud, Coordinator, CGST and Lead Researcher, BIGD chaired the event. Among others, Practitioners and experts from development NGOs, international agencies, women's groups, media and the research community attended the programme. Mr Snehal V. Soneji emphasized taking into account the rights and responsibilities of care givers. M.B Akhter emphasized taking on board the implications of care work for long-term development programmes and working together as NGOs, development programmes and research organisations in order to ensure recognition, reduction and redistribution of care work. Simeen Mahmud questioned whether costing of care work is useful as it needs to be done. However we need to consider whether gender norms are changing or allow changes in the redistribution of care work.
The objective of the workshop was to present a research report on unpaid care work of women in rural area of Bangladesh which will help to design some interventions and strategies to reduce, redistribute, and recognize women’s unpaid care work in the community. Unpaid care work is essential for an individual, family community and society. It is a social good and the “glue that holds societies together”. However the unequal distribution of unpaid care work along gender lines and its lack of support have severe negative consequences: for women’s rights, gender equality and poverty reduction initiatives.
The findings of the study show that women spent 8.8 hours on an average daily for care work, while men spend about an hour. For men this work is mainly looking after the children’s education and doing the groceries, which takes time because of the distance to the markets. On the other hand, men spend an average of 3 hours for paid work, 6.6 hours to produce products for sale and almost no time on production for own consumption. Women spend more time on production for own consumption (four hours a week) and about half of time given by men on producing products for sale (3.6 hours a day on an average for women). Women have 7.6 hours for sleep while men have 7.04 hours and women have 2.7 hours for personal activities while men have almost double (almost 6 hours per day on average). The main differences are the time men have for recreation and self-care (double that of women) and the time women spend on care activities (eight times as much as men).
The research was based on participatory research techniques and interviews with a total of 169 women and men residing in char areas of four districts (Faridpur, Gaibandha, Jamalpur and Nilfamari) in Bangladesh. It was carried out under the project ‘Scaling up Inclusive Dairy Markets’ funded by DFID.