Time allocation of rural women in the Philippines : the case of Laguna




Paunlagui, Merlyne M

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This study was conducted to investigate the productive roles of women by analysing the number of hours devoted to their activities. The major objectives were to (1) examine women's time allocation by demographic, social and economic characteristics of women and the households to which they belonged; (2) determine the changes that occurred in women's time allocation between 1975 and 1985; (3) examine the sexual division of domestic work; and (4) investigate the undercounting of women's economic activities. The sources of data used in this study were the 1975, 1982 and 1985 Laguna Household Surveys. This study divides women's activities into three categories: domestic work, market work and personal care. Regardless of employment status, domestic work was the dominant activity of Laguna mothers throughout this period. Activities centering on the kitchen formed the most time-consuming component of domestic work, followed by child rearing and other housework. Work for wages and 'other market activities' such as trading and retailing were the main components of employed mothers' market activities, whereas activities related to crop production contributed the least. The burden of employed women's productive and reproductive roles affected their personal pursuits. As the number of hours devoted to market activities increased, a lower number of hours was spent on leisure, sleeping and personal activities because the time devoted to domestic activities remained stable. However, the time spent on total work (domestic and market work combined) by employed women was markedly less than the time spent on personal activities. This may reflect the fact that even if women had wanted to participate more in income-earning activities, they would be able to do so because jobs were not available. The unavailability of suitable jobs could also explain the lack of significant increase in the time devoted to market work of women between 1975 and 1985. As expected, the time spent on domestic work decreased between 1975 and 1985; however, the time saved was shifted mainly to personal activities. In effect, the number of hours devoted to market activities did not increase significantly despite the infrastructural development and technological innovations in agriculture during the period of study. Others probably benefited from such developmental efforts, but not the respondents of the study, probably because the women were considerably older (the mean age of women was 40 in 1985) and they lacked the necessary skills required by most manufacturing companies. The domestic work of non-employed and employed women was significantly affected by the age of the youngest child but not by the number of children. The time devoted to domestic activities was reduced as the youngest child grew older. Finally, through the use of time-allocation data the subsistence work of women which has normally been regarded as non-labour force work can be measured. The availability of this data will help to illustrate the importance of subsistence and small-scale activities in meeting the economic needs of the households in the developing countries and will thereby affect government perspectives and policies.






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