It will come as little surprise to many that girls spend 40 per cent more time performing unpaid household chores than boys. That 40 per cent equates to a whopping 160 million more hours of chores a day undertaken by girls. In some countries, this figure is considerably higher. A new report from the United Nations children's agency UNICEF highlights this disparity. UNICEF's Anju Malhotra stated, "Girls sacrifice important opportunities to learn, grow and just enjoy their childhood." She added: "This unequal distribution of labour among children also perpetuates gender stereotypes and the double burden on women and girls across generations."
Much of the work done by girls is of a menial and physically demanding nature. Two-thirds of girls cook and clean in the home, while half collect firewood or water. They also spend a long time caring for children and elderly relatives. The country where girls work longest is Somalia. Here, girls aged between 10 and 14 years spend 26 hours a week on household chores. The report is being released to coincide with the UN's International Day of the Girl Child, which is on the 11th of October. UNICEF said: "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."