Motherhood is undoubtedly an all-encompassing and demanding profession, yet it often lacks the recognition it truly deserves. The ongoing epidemic has further compounded the challenges faced by mothers, who have had to grapple with the added stress of isolation and remote work, all while juggling an endless list of domestic responsibilities. However, there has been a noteworthy development in recent times that signals a significant shift in acknowledging the true nature of this work. It comes in the form of a judge’s ruling, where it was established that doing housework is indeed work. This recognition of the inherent value and labor involved in managing a household marks a pivotal moment, highlighting the importance of “A Judge That Decided That Doing Housework Is Work” and affirming the contributions of mothers in society.
Mothers and other primary carers realize that caring for others is hard labor, but society as a whole is slow to recognize this. A recent divorce judgment in Kenya awarded alimony to a woman in recognition of her domestic work during the marriage, recognizing that housework is work and opening a much-needed dialogue about the worth of such effort.
Mary Wambui, a Kenyan lady who was married for 13 years and did a lot of housework, was recently awarded half of the marital home. “When I saw the ruling, I was very happy and relieved,” the grandmother and mother of three said. “I had the sense that my youth had not been wasted.”
This historic trial marks the first time that the Matrimonial Property Act of 2013, which aimed to abolish decades of gender discrimination in marriage, has been put into effect. The act safeguards married women by defining their contributions both monetarily and in terms of non-monetary labor, such as child care, household administration, and other forms of domestic labor.
Mothers all over the world can relate to Wambui’s worries about the time she’s lost raising her children. Despite these victories, the global world still undervalues moms and the work they put into raising their children.
This decision is a watershed moment for gender equality in the law in Kenya and across Africa. It’s a poignant reminder of the global devaluing of “mother work” and other forms of household labor.
This holds true even in a country like the United States, where discussions about alimony and community property are prevalent. If we truly respected housework, we would guarantee all parents, particularly moms, paid parental leave. The United States is one of the wealthiest countries without a universal policy of paid parental leave, and many companies that do provide paid leave for new mothers and fathers are reluctant to extend their benefits to include adoptive and surrogate parents.
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