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Girls Spend 40% More Time on Household Labor Than Boys, UNICEF Says

Stringer—AFP/Getty Images A Yemeni girl washes clothes on Sept. 26, 2016, in an impoverished coastal village on the outskirts of the port city of Hodeida, Yemen

“The overburden of unpaid household work begins in early childhood and intensifies as girls reach adolescence,” a UNICEF official says

Girls spend 40% more time, or 160 million more hours a day, on household chores such as cooking, cleaning, collecting firewood and caring for family members, than boys of the same age, says a new UNICEF report.

The report titled, Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls, has been released ahead of International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, and includes the first global estimates on the time girls spend on household chores.

The report also mentions much of the labor assigned to girls goes unnoticed and is often undervalued.

“The overburden of unpaid household work begins in early childhood and intensifies as girls reach adolescence,” said UNICEF’s principal gender adviser Anju Malhotra in a press statement.

Girls are often made to start working from as early as 5 or 9 years old, spending 30% more time than boys their age on chores. This disparity increases dramatically as children reach the age of 14, with more than 50% of household labor being assigned to girls.

“Quantifying the challenges girls face is the first critical step towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality and breaking down barriers that confront the world’s 1.1 billion girls,” said UNICEF chief of data and analytics Attila Hancioglu in a press statement.

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