Women worldwide are saddled with the important unpaid work of child care and homemaking, which help societies run smoothly, but those responsibilities often prevent them from accomplishing other things, like getting an education or earning money for their families. In her annual Gates Foundation letter, Melinda Gates has pledged to help close that time poverty gap by helping countries “recognize, reduce, and redistribute”: “Recognize that unpaid work is still work. Reduce the amount of time and energy it takes. And Redistribute it more evenly between women and men.”
Technological innovation is key to helping reduce the amount of time and energy housework and child-rearing takes, which is why it’s crucial to deliver things like clean water solutions to poorer nations.
According to the Times:
Ms. Gates said the foundation planned to increase its support for ways to reduce the gap in unpaid work, such as providing contraceptives and cellphones for women, which could help women in developing countries. Cellphones allow women to more quickly access information like a clinic’s vaccine supply or the price of a crop at the market.
But even in the U.S., where there’s an app for literally everything, women still do a majority of the unpaid labor — four hours a day, versus 2.5 hours for men. If we could get those numbers to drop even a little bit by better redistributing chores, women’s participation in the workforce could go up by 10 percent, which is better for both families and the economy. Do your part by making your partner do the dishes tonight.