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Time use studies puts values to work that are outside the cash nexus and are not counted in national accounts. This exploratory research conducted between August to December 2012, aimed to provide a comprehensive presentation of work along paid and unpaid dimension across gender. It also explored the use of qualitative methodology as an adjunct to quantitative measurements in capturing time use data in agricultural farming communities. Using time use survey, individual interviews, and focus group discussion, time use specifically on paid and unpaid work were drawn from two municipalities in the province of Benguet.
Results show that women’s multiple roles remain undervalued and unrecognized. There is a large disparity of time utilization across genders especially on unpaid work. Both genders spend their day in farm work but findings show that it is the women who perform paid and unpaid work simultaneously. While men spend more in ’paid work,’ women spent three times more than men in performing unpaid work while spending a time in ‘paid work.’ Time poverty has been expressed as true more for women than men. Care for teenagers is the dominant care role undertaken by both parents where fathers usually provide for financial support while the mothers provide not only financial but also emotional, psychological, and social support.
Time use in qualitative terms defines the context as well as the meanings people give to this kind of work. Meanings therefore strongly influence what is seen and how situations are responded to. Care work for instance, has been traditionally associated with women, and is continuously being performed by the same women in the households who also maintain farming activities. In the absence of institutions of care , these are the areas that these women take on a negotiating attitude in relation to work: by simultaneously doing things together and many times by ‘naturalizing’ work traditionally associated to women.
With the competitive and market orientation of these communities, both men and women perform paid farm work, but women have to juggle time for housework and farm work, hence simultaneous work and increasing intensity of work are shouldered. Qualitative data reveal that these male-female divide with men focused on paid work and women negotiating paid and unpaid work, has been naturalized and essentialized. Yet when probed deeper, women expressed the desire to ‘share’ the work with other members of the household which can have implications to their well-being both in material and emotional-spiritual terms.
Once again, findings show that behind the seemingly accepted and stable paid and unpaid work performance in farming communities, time use framework is revealing in that what has been naturalized is actually more dramatic in terms of women performing gender-related household tasks. On the other hand there is expressed desire of sharing unpaid work with other members of the household.