A Woman Milking – This is Considered a Woman’s Job

In Kenya and Africa at large, gender roles and birth order often dictate occupations and tasks undertaken by boys and girls. In many cases, girls/women find themselves bearing the brunt of this unequal distribution of responsibilities. Agriculture has suffered under this inequality.
According to an ILO, Agriculture is a significant form of child labor for both boys and girls. While boys are more likely to undertake activities in agriculture (62.8% for boys versus 37.2% for girls) and industry (68.5% for boys versus 31.5% for girls), girls outnumber boys in services (47.4% for boys versus 52.6% for girls). Both boys and girls work in fields and are often isolated for long hours, facing the risk of violence and abuse.
Unlike boys, many girls face the double burden of performing household chores within their own households (for example, cleaning, cooking, childcare, collecting water and firewood), combined with agricultural activities, such as sowing, harvesting and livestock holdings. Taking into account both the work involved in household chores as well as agricultural tasks, there is evidence showing that frequently girls work more hours than boys. Additionally, a higher percentage or girl child laborers are unpaid; and in the situation that child laborers are paid, girls are often paid less than boys for doing the same job. In addition, community attitudes, such as not valuing girls’ education (partially due to different returns to education for boys and girls) and not considering household chores as work, pose additional challenges to improving the situation of girls in rural areas.
Due to the prevailing division of labor along the gender lines, boys and girls are exposed to different risks and hazards: In agriculture boys are often responsible for operating machinery, using sharp tools, spraying chemicals, and they are more often exposed to amputations, cuts and burns, pesticide poisonings, and other adverse health impacts. Girls are often responsible for carrying water, collecting and carrying wood, risking musculoskeletal injuries, fatigue, and sexual abuse.