Over 200m Girls Undergo Genital Mutilation in 30 Countries – UNICEF

  •   Says girls spend 160m more hours than boys for household chores daily –

Amby Uneze in Owerri

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that girls between 5 and 14 years old spend 40 per cent more time, or 160 million more hours a day, on unpaid household chores and collecting water and firewood compared to boys of their age.

This is contained in a report released by UNICEF ahead of the International Day of the Girl on 11 October.

In its statistical review titled, “Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead to 2030,” it includes the first global estimates on the time girls spend doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, caring for family members and collecting water and firewood.

It also revealed that at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have undergone Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), while about 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives, even as in sub-Saharan Africa 3 in 4 adolescents 15 to19 years old newly infected with HIV are girls.

The data show that the disproportionate burden of domestic work begins early, with girls between 5 and 9 years old spending 30 per cent more time, or 40 million more hours a day, on household chores than boys their age. The numbers rise as girls get older, with 10 to 14 year olds spending 50 per cent more time, or 120 million more hours each day.

“The overburden of unpaid household work begins in early childhood and intensifies as girls reach adolescence,” said UNICEF’s Principal Gender Advisor Anju Malhotra. “As a result, girls sacrifice important opportunities to learn, grow, and just enjoy their childhood. This unequal distribution of labour among children also perpetuates gender stereotypes and the double-burden on women and girls across generations.”