During the inauguration of the fourteenth specialists meeting on use of time and unpaid work, representatives from various institutions in Mexico recognized that, to alleviate the double workload faced by women, it was necessary to start producing statistics that allow a value to all the activities they undertake.
The information presented showed that unpaid work in Mexico translated into women spending between two and five more hours than men on housework and as care providers.
These undervalued activities, however, generate a yearly value of 4.5 billion pesos (243.5 million dollars), contributing 24 percent of the GDP. This remarkable data has been made invisible for years.
Among the leading speakers at the conference were U.N. Women’s representative in Mexico, Ana Güezmes García, the President of Mexico’s National Institute of Women (INMUJERES) Lorena Cruz Sánchez and the President of the National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) Julio Alfonso Santaella Castell.
Güezmes García stated that it is necessary to redistribute the time and workload that women around the world spend on unpaid work, as it represents the highest hidden tax on women, for which urgent action was needed.
On the part of INMUJERES, Cruz Sánchez asked to stop rendering women statistically invisible.
“Let us remember that making women, girls and elderly women statistically invisible is one of the most destructive strategies against realizing the social and economical value of women. For decades the unpaid work carried out by women was qualified as inactivity or non-economically active population, rendering the work of women invisible despite their having historically done much work without recognition.”
The speakers underlined the need to redistribute the workload women carry and involve the government, business, society and men in general in this change.
“Of every 100 hours of total work, women contribute 60. We have spent much of our time building the domestic infrastructure for others. For instance, in Mexico we spend 25 hours weekly on caring for minors, and 27 on caring for the sick, whereas men only dedicate 11 and 15 hours weekly to these tasks,” added Cruz Sánchez.
Santaella Castell said that it was not enough to estimate the amount of time and distribution of unpaid work, which also had to be valued.
“It is very hard to assess the worth of unpaid work, there are many activities within this theme that will be discussed during this meeting. How much worth does a mother making food have? What is the value of a father supervising his children’s homework? We have to put a number on all that.”
Translated by Diego Courchay