Reproducing a Household: Recognising and Assessing Paid and Unpaid Housework in Urban India


Housework, as an expansive term, includes all the work required to reproduce the household – whether paid or unpaid Domestic workers perform this work for remuneration, and that is commonly known as ‘paid domestic work’ Using a time-use survey, we try to measure both. We measure the time taken for 33 different tasks within activity clusters such as domestic services (cleaning, procurement, upkeep) and caregiving services (child and elderly care). Here, we assess both unpaid work done by members of the household, disaggregated by activities and gender; and paid work done by an externally engaged domestic worker. We surveyed 9,636 households in two metropolitan Indian cities – Bengaluru and Chennai – with variations across socio-economic status, caste, religion, neighborhood type and across households with and without women working for wages. It offers a complete picture of the demand for domestic work and rates of engagement of households as employers of domestic work in urban India, a statistic that is often missing.