It is a normal day in a regular Indian household. Its members include twin children, a boy, and a girl. They are born on the same day to the same set of parents. However, right from childhood, their lives appear slightly different.
For instance, the girl ends up spending 21 minutes more than the boy engaging in unpaid labour. As they cross the age of 15, the difference appears stark. At one point, the girl, now a woman, spends six hours a day more than her brother doing work, which pays her no money. This includes doing household chores and taking care of children and other family members. This is according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation report titled ‘Women and Men in India 2022’.
Unpaid chores make Indian women poorer.
The report shows that while an average Indian woman, aged between 15 and 29 spends 5.5 hours doing unpaid labour, a man in that age group spends about fifty minutes a day doing work that yields no money.
This is also in line with an Oxfam report from December 2021, which noted that the unpaid work done by women looking after their homes and children is worth 3.1 per cent of India’s GDP. A senior woman (aged above 60) too spends four hours a day doing unpaid labour, while a senior man spends an hour and a half on the same.
The MoSPI report which has sourced the data from Time Use Survey also notes how men and women spend their time. It will be interesting to note that an average man spends six minutes more than a woman on self-care and maintenance. The only aspect of unpaid labour where a man spends more time is ‘volunteering and training’. Here, a man spends six minutes a day more than a woman. When it comes to learning, both men and women spend around seven hours a day, but only a man spends three minutes more.
Inequality in wealth
The report also says that of the total number of individual savings accounts in Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCB), only 35 per cent are owned by women. And when it comes to the cumulative amount of money deposited in these accounts, they own just 20 per cent.
Commenting on this, economist Sona Mitra said that deposits in women’s accounts get withdrawn for consumption purposes. “This is also because women earn much less than men. Women are usually concentrated in low-paying sectors, often in informal work and very small businesses. There are very few women CEOs, or in managerial positions drawing higher salaries,” she added. Mitra is a Principal Economist at IWWAGE, an initiative of LEAD at Krea University.
We analysed the data state-wise, to see that among bigger states Andhra Pradesh leading. More than 41 per cent of the total bank accounts here are held by women. In Gujarat, it is much lower at 27.4 per cent.
At the same time, surprisingly, the average deposit amount in the accounts of men and women is not that different. While an average Indian man has ₹43,798 in his savings account, an average woman has ₹42,978.