Lack of payment for housework

Other Names:
Uncompensated housewives' labour
Dependence on unpaid household work
Unpaid household work

The amount of time taken for various household tasks varies, partly with the number in the family and the ages of the children, partly with the size and location of the residence and partly with the technology available. It is generally agreed that household work is time-consuming and usually takes up as many hours as full-time work outside the home, sometimes more. Yet the women who put in this time are generally held in low economic esteem and the importance of their function is given little recognition. Because their work is unpaid and not evaluated in monetary terms, its economic and social value is seldom appreciated at its true worth. Because they tend to be regarded simply as dependents, they have low social visibility and seem scarcely to exist in their own right. They are frequently badly disadvantaged as regards such things as social security, property and taxation.


If the value of housework were to be calculated in monetary terms, it would make a considerable difference to the Gross National Product of every country. It would also affect family decisions about how the work is done and the feeling of personal worth and dignity of the housewife herself.

In one study in the US, in 1979 concluded that the average value of housework in a family with two teenage children was US$ 14,500 if the wife was not otherwise employed and US$ 10,500 if the wife was otherwise employed.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST