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Domestic burdens amid COVID-19 and women's mental health in middle-income Africa

Mueller, Valerie, Grépin, Karen A., Rabbani, Atonu, Ngunjiri, Anne, Oyekunle, Amy and Wenham, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5378-3203 (2023) Domestic burdens amid COVID-19 and women's mental health in middle-income Africa. Feminist Economics, 29 (2). pp. 192-218. ISSN 1354-5701

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13545701.2023.2174566


This article analyzes two longitudinal datasets (October – December 2020; April 2021) of 1,000 and 900 women in Kenya and Nigeria, respectively, alongside in-depth qualitative interviews with women at risk of changes to time use, to study two pandemic issues: women’s substitution of paid for unpaid work and how these shifts compromise their mental health. Women devote more time to domestic care (30–38 percent), less time to employment (29–46 percent), and become unemployed (12–17 percent). A rise in domestic work is correlated with depressive (Nigeria) and anxiety symptoms (Kenya and Nigeria). Women with greater agency (Kenya) and fewer children (Nigeria) are less likely to report a domestic burden or loss in paid activities. Social protection programs may fill the void of assistance traditionally provided by informal networks in the short term, while campaigns shifting norms around household work may preserve women’s economic participation in the long term.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I0 - General > I00 - General
D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics > D13 - Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2023 10:45
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2024 03:27

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