Reducing Time Poverty & Unpaid Care Work
Advancements in gender equality and women’s empowerment over the last few decades include increased access to education for girls, significant improvements in maternal and child health, increased access to reproductive health services, improvements in women’s economic status, and declining rates of child marriage. Nonetheless, major barriers remain. By including gender equality and women’s empowerment as both a stand-alone goal and a part of several of the other goals, the SDGs recognize the work that still needs to be done to tackle those barriers. In doing so, it is important for agencies, organizations and governments to focus on some of the root causes that prevent girls and women from advancing and unleashing their full potential. Chief among these is the time poverty that women experience because of the disproportionate share of unpaid care work that falls on them.
Recent global reports focusing on unpaid work and women’s empowerment highlight the significant impact that cooking and fuel collection have on women’s time. While more comprehensive data collection and analysis is needed regarding changes in workload and time use as a result of clean and efficient cookstoves, the existing research is compelling. Introducing more efficient stoves and alternative fuels can significantly reduce the time women spend on unpaid work related to meal preparation through faster cooking times and reduced firewood collection trips, as well as promote financial savings in the long term through cost-efficient fuels. The time and income recovered from these activities will allow more space and opportunity for activities that improve the well-being of women and girls and help to lift them out of poverty