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Child work

Modified on 2013/05/16 14:09 by Haoyi Chen Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 2 - Work
From gender issues to gender statistics on child work: illustrative examples

Policy-relevant questions Data needed Sources of data
Are boys more often than girls employed? Children employed by sex and age Child labour force surveys
Child labour and youth employment surveys
LFS (Labour Force Survey)
Are girls more often than boys engaged in household chores? Children engaged in household chores by sex and age Child labour force surveys
Child labour and youth employment surveys
Modules in other household surveys such as DHS (Demographic and Health Survey) and MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster survey)
Do older girls spend the same amount of time working as older boys? Number of hours worked doing housework by sex and age Child labour force surveys
Child labour and youth employment surveys
Is girls’ school attendance affected by long hours of work as much as boys’ school attendance? School attendance by number of hours worked, sex, age and level of education Child labour force surveys
Child labour and youth employment surveys

  • + Gender issues
    • Similar to their adult counterparts, girls and boys are involved in different types of work. Boys are more likely than girls to be employed and to work in hazardous conditions (United Nations, 2010). However, girls are more likely than boys to do unpaid domestic work. Long hours of work affect children’s ability to participate fully in education and develop the basic skills necessary as adults to participate fully in society. When the time spent on household chores is very high, the school attendance of girls, especially older girls, is more affected than the school attendance of boys.

  • + Data needed
    • Child labour statistics are especially needed in countries where a significant number of children are working in contravention of agreed international labour standards and national legislation safeguarding the interest and welfare of children (International Labour Office, 2008). However, countries should not restrict their data collection to child labour (defined as worst forms of work, work below minimum age, and work in hazardous conditions). It is recommended that data collection covers all paid activities as well as unpaid activities performed by children, including unpaid household services activities. Thus, the total employment of children (child labour and other work activities) and the work of children on household chores should be accounted for.

  • + Several statistics are needed:
    • Children in employment by sex and age

      Children working in worst forms of work, below minimum age, and in hazardous conditions (child labour) by sex and age

      Children engaged in housework by sex and age

      Number of hours worked by children in employment and unpaid housework by sex and age

      Additional breakdowns are needed to understand some of the causes and consequences of child work. Living in poor rural areas or urban slums and household poverty are factors usually associated with child employment and over-burden with household chores. Gender differences in child employment may not be the same in rural areas compared to urban areas, for example. Furthermore, as low school attendance is one of the main consequences of work burden, it is important that data on school attendance is collected and disaggregated by sex, age, labour force participation status or hours worked in employment and unpaid housework.

  • + Examples of indicators derived from gender statistics on child work:
    • Proportion of children aged 5-17 in employment by sex

      Proportion of children aged 5-14 engaged in household chores by sex

      Time spent by children aged 15-17 on work in employment and housework by sex

      School attendance rate of children aged 5-14 working 21 hours per week or more on household chores by sex


  • + Sources of data
    • Child labour surveys collect comprehensive information on child’s employment and child’s involvement in household chores. These surveys would collect, for example, data on type of activities performed by children; hours of work by type of activity; child’s school attendance; children’s health; orphanhood; wealth status of the household; demographic and economic characteristics of the child and other household members.

      Household surveys such as DHS (Demographic and Health Survey) or MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey) may also include a few questions or a module on child work, along with demographic and economic characteristics of the child and other household members, and wealth status of the household.

      Labour Force Surveys may collect information on employment for children over 10 years old.

      Some establishment surveys may be focused on child labour.


  • + Conceptual and measurement issues
    • It is important that statistics on children’s work cover all forms of work, paid activities as well as unpaid activities. In particular, the inclusion of household chores in statistics on children’s work is important for a more accurate measure of the burden of work carried by girls and boys.

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