Men’s participation in unpaid care and domestic work still suffers from gaps

A two-day workshop that brought together members of RWAMREC (Rwanda Men’s Resource Center) and partners from different countries of the globe was held in Kigali from 9 to 10 December 2018  with the aim of exchanging experiences on the possibility of accelerate men’s participation in unpaid care and domestic works.

The workshop was supported by the Advancing Learning and Innovation on Gender Norms (ALIGN) project and Wellspring with the participation of PROMUNDO, a privileged partner of RWAMREC.

From Right to left- Brian Heilman ( USA),Ravi Verma ( India) Sharon Mac Leod ( USA) and Patricia Carmona Hernandez( Mexico)

Various partners from African countries, America, Europ and Asia debated for two days at the Hotel Marasa Umubano Hotel in Kigali on the gaps that still curb the men care giving, and analyzed the results of the report entitled “Getting Men to Care and State of the World’s Fathers 2019 : Accelerating men’s greater participation in unpaid care and domestic work”.

 

During the opening session, PROMUNDO’s President, Gary Barker retraced the current situation regarding the non participation of men in unpaid care and domestic work and mentioned the challenges related to gender norms while highlighting the urgent need for the change.

 

According to Barker “many men and women still think that care giving is women’s business”.

It has been proven that “globally countries lose $ 160 trillion in wealth due to earnings gaps between women and men,” Barker said.

Referring to the results of a recent research on “State of the world’s fathers 20019” , Rutayisire Fidele, Chairman of RWAMREC has meanwhile indicated that  non participation of men in unpaid work is a problem shared by many countries in the world,  and that the improvement  of this situation is very slow.

Rutayisire Fidele Chairman of RWAMREC

“If men were able to give importance to unpaid care and domestic works, the national budget can be raised” he said.

Rutayisire mentioned some challenges that still curb the change of attitudes in Rwanda such as “culture, the stigma based on the fact that a man who provide unpaid care and domestic works is considered as a man dominated by his wife  “.

He explained that even when some men manage to do this domestic work, they do it in secret so as not to be booed by their neighbors.

At the end of exchange of experiences by the participants, some barriers and drivers of men’s care were presented such as the need to well conduct the conversation in families and not instrumentalise this approach.

On the other side, there are norms and attitudes relating to gender that must be well managed, stigma and suscipicion, and especially the value of care. It is also necessary to give importance to skills and confidence to care (parent training, integration factor, valuing care, economic security etc).

Finally, participants emphasized the role played by services and institutions (healthcare sector, school, curricula, childcare, day care, etc.).

For Rutayisire, governments should incorporate this into their policies in order to effectively engage men and women in national development.

 Jean Louis KAGAHE.

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