It’s Filipino Fathers’ Day every day in terms of household tasks, survey reveals

Fathers and husbands are celebrated today but Filipino men seem to always have it better, not just on Fathers’ Day but in the rest of the year as well.

Compared to Filipina mothers and wives, at least.

A survey commissioned by Oxfam Philippines revealed that while Filipino men log more care work hours during the coronavirus pandemic, the bulk of household tasks still fall on women.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing families to spend more time at home, Filipinas are still bearing the brunt of unpaid care work, according to the 2021 National Household Care Survey.

The survey reveals than when time spent on supervision of dependents is included, women spent up to 13 hours a day on unpaid care work compared to only eight hours for men. 

Oxfam Philippines graph.

More than half or seven out of the 13 hours spent by women on care work involves multi-taking or juggling at least two activities at the same time, the survey says.

On average, Filipino women spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with care work as their primary activity, it added.

This involves activities such as fetching water, doing laundry or taking care of sick family members.

This is almost three hours more than men who spend an average of less than three hours a day with care work as their primary activity.

It is actually an improvement of the 2017 situation when women spent 12 hours a day on care work while men spent only five hours on such tasks.

Still, Oxfam Philippines said things still need further improvement.

“[I]t is disappointing that there is still inequality at home and that the bulk of unpaid care work still falls on women,” Oxfam Philippines Resilience Portfolia Manager Leah Payud said.

“While the coverage of the two surveys is not exactly the same, it was expected that time spent on care work would increase for men, especially since many were forced to stay and even work at home,” Payud added.

Oxfam Philippines graph.

The survey was conducted from January to March of this year and involved interviews with 1,177 respondents from randomly sampled households in Cagayan, Metro Manila, Masbate, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Oxfam Philippines urged the private sector to contribute to improved workplace policies such as increased parental leaves, flexible work and employer-supporter childcare to encourage menfolk to take on more care work around the house.

“We’re hoping that more men, especially those from the younger generations, would start to take on care work and challenge social norms,” Payud said.

She said there is also a need for institutional changes such as legislation or policies that support the care economy.

“Hopefully, this will improve care-related services such as water systems, health care delivery, and day care services that will result in the redistribution of care tasks and recognition of the importance of care work for both men and women, Payud added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)