Time to Care

Development Project

Time to Care

Strengthening paid and unpaid care work in Kenya to advance gender equality

Background media: A Black mother carrying her baby on her back hangs clothes to dry outside her house.
Photo: Alexa Sedge/Oxfam

The Situation

Women and girls in Kenya are expected to prioritize care work over paid work, education, and other opportunities, limiting their autonomy and opportunities to succeed and trapping them in poverty.

Women and girls in Kenya often have more care responsibilities than men at work and home. As women are typically expected to be the primary caregivers, looking after a child takes up around 20 per cent of their time.

This inequality is due primarily to traditional ideas about men's and women's roles, suggesting that women's work, whether paid or unpaid, is less critical and requires less skill than men's. These ideas contribute to the disproportionate burden of unpaid care and domestic work on women, limiting their ability to participate in decision-making processes and negotiate a more equitable distribution of unpaid care and domestic work within households.

When they enter the labour market, women are often relegated to more vulnerable occupations, including employment in the informal economy, particularly domestic work.

Kenya has approximately two million domestic workers, with women constituting about 80 per cent of this workforce.

Domestic and paid care work continues to be undervalued and invisible, with many women, girls, migrants, and vulnerable people experiencing discrimination. Although Kenya has made significant progress regarding expanding labour rights through legislative and statutory regulations, rights and regulations for domestic and paid care workers are yet to be fully enforced.

For Kenya to achieve inclusive and sustainable development, it needs to invest in advancing gender equality and recognizing and valuing women's contributions to the country's economy and society.



6 years (2023-2029)

Lire la description du programme en français (PDF).

This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada, and the generous Canadian public.

New logo from government of Canada that reads, in partnership with Canada.

Issues at a Glance

What are some of the care challenges women and girls face in Kenya?

5 hours
The number of hours women in Kenya spend on care activities while men spend just 1 hour a day.
The rate of women collecting water is twice that of men at 29%. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have made things even harder for women and girls, as they now spend more time on care activities. They travel longer distances, work harder, and take on more responsibilities.
Women contribute to over three-quarters of unpaid care and comprise two-thirds of the paid care workforce.

What are we doing?


Strengthening the skills and knowledge of paid care workers to claim and defend their rights to decent work and working with the employers of domestic workers to raise their awareness of these rights.


Increasing awareness and promoting positive social norms and behaviours that recognize the importance of paid and unpaid care work and help reduce and equally share the burden of care work across Kenyan society.


Raising the presence and voice of care workers in important policy discussions and decisions by strengthening Kenyan organizations that support women's and workers' rights to become better advocates of care work.

What do we hope to achieve?

Time to Care brings a rights-based, feminist, and intersectional approach to strengthening local groups and organizations' existing leadership, programming, advocacy work, and collective action. The project will support these groups to advance gender equality for women and girls by improving Kenya's paid and unpaid care work conditions.

Time to Care will work on the following:

  • Increase the adoption of gender-equitable social norms around paid and unpaid care work.
  • Strengthen the skills and knowledge of paid care workers to advocate for and claim their rights.
  • Increase the implementation of gender-transformative legislation, policies, and practices supporting paid and unpaid care work in Kenya.

Support the rights of women and girls in Kenya today.

Background media: Two Black women standing against a brown wall hold their babies in their arms.
Photo: Elena Heatherwick/Oxfam

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