The feminisation of time poverty:please share solutions for its end
It is stated by the United Nations that the majority of the world’s poor are women. However there are women who are living on more than one dollar a day who I still thnk are living in abject poverty and this poverty is so subtle that many who suffer from it are unaware. This includes women who are millionaires. This poverty afflicting women the world over regardless of social differences, political affliations and economic stability is time poverty. The poorest seem to be the worst affected as they are unable to improve their state because of the unavailability of time.
Time poverty has gained prominence in my world although it is a rarely talked about phenemenon. If I had doubted its existence before, this weekend I came face to face wth this abstract but obvious obstacle to development and chief impeding officer of the MDG’s. there was no water in most parts of Harare and my area was not spared. The road was littered with women carrying buckets of water fetched from shallow wells which are unsafe as widely agreed upon by the authorities. Chores that usually take minutes took hours and the work I was supposed to do on Saturday carried on into Sunday and sadly Monday. I had to come to work with chores unfinished and I don’t know if I will finish them. This inevitably left me with no free time to relax or meditate as I usually do neither could I plan my week which lives everything in jeopardy. As if that was not enough there was also serious load sheeding and we had no electricity which also meant that I had to look for alternative forms of fuel. The most popular being paraffin and firewood. Imagine the number of trees that are being cut so that people can cook. The environmental implications are huge. Paraffin causes indoor pollution and many women and children die due to indoor pollution every year.
time poverty is also responsible for the number of girls who are failing to finish secondary school. many have to work on the land and attend to household chores and this lives them with no time for study. when the rains come they are needed full time in the fields so they can not attend school and sooner or later they drop out because they cant catch up or they simply do not have the time to go to school. they spent hours travelling in search of firewood and water.
the women are unable to improve their state as there are numerous activites they have to complete leaving them with no time for personal development. these are mainly jobs that cannot be measured on paper yet they do take up the women's time. i have always wondered why pay domestic workers but not the women who stay at home doing the same work. so women are forced to do double jobs because if they are formally employed they still have to get home and do household chores whilst the man whi is similarly employed once he gets home throws off his shoes and sits in front of the tv waiting for the woman to serve him.at this time you may find the man engaged in his books as he tries to advance himself educationally but as a woman by the time you are done you just throw yourself in the bed and sleep. so where on earth do yuo find time for personal development or the LUXURY of furthering your education.
today i ask women across the world to share their ideas on how we can relieve women of their numerous burdens and if you have your own experiences with time poverty please share. maybe you have conquered this phenomenon and your story might help someone take charge of their life and be time rich. i strongly feel that if we deal with time poverty we have solved half of the women's problems.
solving women's issues is the first step towards development,lets unite for a developed world where women can speak and be heard and live a fulfilling life with plenty of time to engage in activities of their choice without prejudice.
a proud zimbabwean woman who has found her voice