‘You Cannot Live Without Money’: Women Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in Rwanda
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Rwanda’s recent history has seen a variety of government and non-government programmes that have helped increase women’s political participation, awareness of rights and access to finance, and women’s involvement in off-farm activities and other forms of paid work, particularly in rural areas.
However, balancing paid and unpaid work remains a daunting task for the majority of women surveyed in this research study. Those who are struggling to achieve a positive balance between paid work and care work find it is due to working long hours, far from home, with little or no childcare support.
The report argues that despite men being encouraged to become more involved in care activities, there is a need for advocacy at the household level about sharing care activities. In particular: men need to support women with agricultural cultivation and household tasks. There is also an emphasis on the need for redistribution of care responsibilities from families to other actors: Women expressed a desire for help from the community for care of the children; and more childcare centres to be set up by the state and NGOs to enable them to go to paid work. They would also benefit from the government providing health insurance and assistance with housing and children’s education, especially for families living in poverty. This report provides evidence on the need for creation of quality work to be nearer home, and for practical improvements in stoves and water delivery in order to ease the drudgery of the care responsibilities on women.