The unpaid care work our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and wives do

Have you ever stopped to think about how much work your mother, sister, aunt, daughter do that goes unnoticed? How much have these women been paid for all they have done in our lives?

I had a chance to hear from someone who shared his thought of who the most important people in his life are,

My mother and my wife.

This was during the midterm review workshop on the unpaid care work project in Uganda, Kenya, Nepal and Nigeria.

For 26 years I grew up under the care of my mother and now my wife.

He went ahead to explain how much they have sacrificed to make sure he had all he wanted: “My mother did all she could to raise me as a responsible person and my wife from then on has taken over to make sure I have food in my belly and get to work on time.

Yet there is no monetary measure of how much to pay my mother.

I’ve heard things like this from so many people now. “How much I can pay my mother for what she has done in my life?”

In response so many mothers say thing like: “The only way my children can repay me is to succeed in life.” They have not asked their children to go bring their life time easing, yet still their work is not recognized.

Who spends sleepless nights so the rest of the house members have sound sleep? Who cooks, cleans the house, cleans the compound, fetches water, washes cloths and is expected to put food on the table for the whole family on time. Of course not forgetting the miles they have to track to get health care in case of a sick member of the family. Yet they still face questions like: “what have you been doing all day?” if dinner is a few minutes late.

This is what many of our sisters do until the time they are ready to get married. Then comes another nightmare in many of the girls’ lives.

Bride price!

In my own culture the men begin to say “We are going to buy a woman.” This is said so proudly, indeed the bargain starts on what the girls’ uncles want and what the husband’s side is willing to offer.

Finally they come to an agreement and there goes the poor girl from the sister who did all the house chores with her mother to now being a wife.

At a cost of a few heads of cattle the girl changes environment to continue the routine of the same unpaid care work.

Ask her mother, sister or even aunt what happened to the bride price paid, I bet none of them would have a response! The big question I have for my dear fathers, uncles, brothers of this world is how long our mothers, sisters, aunts and wives should keep doing all this work before we can say thanks but also join.

The sooner we stop viewing the women in our lives as property the better this world will become!