Chinese Divorce Court Awards Wife £5,000 For Housework

A Beijing divorce court has ordered a man to compensate his ex-wife for all the unpaid work she did during their marriage – and we’re thrilled to see women’s hidden labour finally recognised.

The man, identified as Mr Chen, will have to pay his soon-to-be ex-wife, Ms Wang, 50,000 yuan (around £5,460) for shouldering the housework and childcare responsibilities since they married in 2015, reported the BBC.

It’s a positive step, but it seems five grand may be a little stingy. Research by King’s College London (KCL) in 2020 found the gender gap in unpaid care work (UCW) is “one of the most glaring manifestations of inequality between men and women around the world”.

Women perform 75% of such work globally, dedicating roughly four hours and 25 minutes daily to it – more than three times men’s average of one hour and 23 minutes. The economic contribution of UCW is around $10 trillion per year, 13% of global GDP – and the economy would no doubt be scuppered without it.

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