Find out why housewives in Kenya might start getting paid

"Raising children is a full-time job," the judge stated.

High Court declares housewives should get paid.

On Friday, September 24, a High Court judge declared that being housewife should be considered as a full-time payable job. Kenya now joins Venezuela and India as the only countries in the world considering paying stay at home moms.

The judge Teresiah Matheka, who was presiding over a matrimonial property dispute, said that it was rather unfair for courts to rule that housewives have no significant contribution to the financial progression of a family.

“It is easy for the spouse working away from home and sending money to lay claim to the whole property purchased and developed with that money by the spouse staying at home and taking care of the children and the family.

That spouse will be heard to say that the other one was not employed so they contributed nothing."

"Raising children is a full-time job that families pay a person to do. Cooking and cleaning as well. Hence, for a woman in employment who has to balance childbearing and rearing this contribution must be considered," the Judge Matheka stated.

The judge also urged her counterparts to consider the 9 months of pregnancy when presiding over cases of matrimonial disputes.

She opined that carrying a pregnancy is equivalent to working, noting that some couples have lately resorted to hiring surrogate mothers to bear children for them.

Venezuela

In 2007, the Venezuelan government began paying stay-at-home housewives, recognising their work at the home as valuable economic activity.

Former President Hugo Chavez announced that in the first phase, under Article 88 of the Constitution, which began in February 2007, 100,000 poor women head of households would receive 80 per cent of the legal minimum wage.

The minimum wage at the time amounted to approximately sh.18,000per month with another 100,000 covered in the second phase four months later.

India

In the second most populous country in the world judges have put a value on unpaid work of women who have died in road accidents and awarded compensation to their dependants.

In calculating the value of housework, judges have looked at opportunity cost (which is something that is given up in order to do something else) of a woman's decision to work at home.

They also considered minimum wages for skilled and unskilled workers, taken into account educational qualifications of the deceased woman, and adjusted compensations after accounting for age and considering whether she had children or not.

In December, a court awarded a compensation of over sh.2 million (1.7 million rupees) to the family of a 33-year-old homemaker who died in a road accident, after fixing her notional salary at sh.7,000 a month.

Wherever possible, the judges have tried to keep pace with inflation. In one judgement, the judges viewed marriage as an "equal economic partnership" so that the homemaker's salary would be half of the husband's salary.

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