In a typical Rwandan home without a housekeeper, who is responsible for childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, or any other primary household activities? Your response may be similar to the findings of a global study conducted across different countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Women do more than twice as much unpaid care work as men. It is considered unpaid work if a third party could be paid to do the work. Examples include, but are not limited to, routine housework, shopping, and caring for other members of the household. According to UN Women Rwanda's recent baseline Survey on unpaid care work status among women and men in eight districts of Rwanda, women and girls from rural areas carry a heavier burden of care work than their male counterparts. As a result, women spend disproportionately more time than men on unpaid care work. Women across different regions, socio-economic classes, and cultures spend a significant portion of their day fulfilling the expectations of their domestic and reproductive roles. According to Shamsi Kazimbaya, Senior Program Officer at Equimundo, Center for Masculinities and Social Justice, this is due to gendered social and religious norms that view unpaid care work as a female prerogative. In addition to their paid activities, women bear a double burden of work and it is normalized by both men and women due to social construct, she said. “Unpaid work is not viewed as exploitation, especially when one partner doesn’t engage in other money-generating work and thus 'compromise' with taking care of housework,” she explained. It becomes problematic when used as a tool of gender-based violence (GBV). GBV refers to any form of inequality directed against a person because of their gender, as well as violence experienced by one gender disproportionately to the other. Kazimbaya noted in various studies conducted under Equimundo, which works to promote gender equality by engaging men and boys in partnership with women, girls, and individuals of all gender identities, that despite improvements made in Rwanda in terms of establishing gender inclusivity in the workplace, a balance cannot be completely achieved as long as gender norms around fatherhood and care work are not transformed. Confining women to traditional roles associated with femininity and motherhood creates unequal distribution of responsibilities between men and women, hence infringing on women's rights and impeding their economic empowerment. After hearing me complain about the double burden of homecare and professional work, someone once told me that it was the price women should pay for emancipation and fighting for gender equality, Eugenie Nzitakera, an accountant by profession, shared. The person wanted to say that if women were content to stay at home and care for the home, they wouldn't have to worry about earning money for the family, because it would be the man's responsibility to provide, and everyone would be happy, she went on. Nzitakera was disturbed by the comment because it shows how unpaid housework is viewed as a primary responsibility of a woman, yet wanting to make money of her own is viewed as a disruption to the system, which she described as unfair. Every minute a woman or girl spends on unpaid care work is one minute less she could potentially spend on market-related activities or acquiring educational and vocational skills, according to entrepreneur and businessman Sostene Gasasira. He said that dividing women between labour, productive and reproductive activities, paid and unpaid work, has an impact on their ability to actively and fully maximize their potential at their jobs, as well as the types of employment or remuneration opportunities available to them. As a crucial step toward achieving gender equality and reducing GBV, the burden of unpaid care work borne by women should be reduced by redistributing caring responsibilities among men and women, as well as among family members. Kazimbaya suggested that one way to achieve this would be to provide equal, fully paid parental leave to all parents, strengthen policies and laws that allow both parents to participate fully in economic activities. He further advises that children should be provided with gender equality education, policies in the health sector to engage men in prenatal visits, childbirth, and postnatal care, and gender transformative approaches to promote men's involvement in care work, and promote equitable, non-violent, caring relationships.