Working women in Kyrgyzstan almost have no spare time – they spend it cleaning house

Category: Best visualization (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Kyrgyzstan

Organisation: Kloop.kg

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2 Aug 2019

Credit: Savia Hasanova, Anna Kapushenko, Altynai Mambetova, Arseny Mamashev, Tilek Beishenaliev, Aizada Karataeva, Bekzhan Asylbekov, Katya Myachina, Dmitry Motinov, Tatiana Zelenskaya

Project description:

Project touches upon one of the most vulnerable and sensitive issues not only in Kyrgyzstan, but in Central Asia, – gender equality. Persistent cultural norms, patriarchal views and women abusive stereotypes lead to the fact that women spend quarter of their daily time doing unpaid housework. With that men spend only 5% of their daily time doing chores. The project is a combination of video, narrative and a poster. Based on data we reconstruct the average day of the working couple – even both spouses work, women continue working, but unpaid when returning home, while men enjoy more leisure.

Impact reached:

Kloop.kg is one of the few independent media outlets in Kyrgyzstan, and its audience is fewer compared to the large national media outlets. Therefore we were very happy to achieve the following results with each of our projects reaching the broad audience and getting so many responses.

1. First of all, the project is innovative in a sense that it is the first video reconstruction based on data, not only in Kyrgyzstan, but in Central Asia.

2. The project ended up to be the TOP ONE article by page views during the month it was published – February 2018.

3. The average time on page amounted up to 2 minutes 48 seconds compared to 1 minute 57 among all the articles that were published between February, 2019 and January, 2020.

4. Eventually it took 69th place among over 3000 of articles published at Kloop.kg during one year.

5. It also received over 5000 of reactions, comments and shares on Facebook page.

6. The project also entered Global Investigative Journalism Network’s GIJN’s Data Journalism Top 10: https://gijn.org/2019/02/14/gijns-data-journalism-top-10-datashare-document-analysis-visualization-talkies-and-kyrgyzstans-labor-imbalance/?fbclid=IwAR3m4Yp16LoacW2y2J8MO1iMCXHv_F5ya-CQZfC-xEzlMc8tT4OpJb_RFSw

Techniques/technologies used:

Data sources:

  1. National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. URL: http://stat.kg/ru/publications/obsledovaniya-byudzheta-vremeni/
  2. IMF data
  3. World bank data

Methodology. The dataset contains distribution of time (in minutes) spent on daily life duties (chores, work, leisure) disaggregated by gender, areas, regions, marital and occupational statuses, age etc.

We did the cross sectional data analysis, in order to calculate the average distribution of time devoted to unpaid housework by women and men. In order to prove the gender differences we estimated the differences between women and men in elasticities of unpaid housework to paid occupation and leisure. The elasticity for women is on average lower than for men (even though, when women start working, they still tend to withdraw less time from unpaid housework than men. This means that working women still devote unequally large amount of time to housework, while men enjoy more leisure).

In the narrative and a poster we provide fact-sheet of data-based differences between women and men in terms of their time spend on chores and how it affects their life-being. For example, one of the consequences is that women have less economic and education opportunities – less than half of working age females are employed, and their salaries are 30% less than males’.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was working with data and finding appropriate way for data visualization.

The initial dataset consisted of multiple tables – all of them in non-machine-readable format. The data needed to be scraped, converted into machine-readable format and cleaned. Finally, we obtained dataset, disaggregated by gender, age, region, occupation, time spent on chores, education and work.

We discussed a number of different formats, including longread, scrollytelling and finally agreed to do a very simple, but informative format – video reconstruction based on data. We calculated the averages of the time spent on doing chores, split them into categories and re-constructed an average day of the working couple before and after work.

What can others learn from this project?

The issue of gender inequality in Kyrgyzstan is one of the most sensitive issue among many other social problems.

From the one hand it is declared by the law that there is no gender inequality in legal economic and social rights. From the other hand there is a number of societal norms and stereotypes leading to post-ante unequal outcomes.

One of these outcomes is unequal distribution of time between women and men spent on household chores. It is believed in Kyrgyzstan that women from an early age are obliged to maintain household’s wellbeing. Especially it is mandatory for new brides who just got married and entered husband’s family (also known as “kelin”). As a result women are exempted from effective time spending, which they could have devoted  towards their education, paid work and carrier opportunities.

As a result of our findings we concluded the following

1. There is unequal distribution of household chores between women and men, which restricts economic opportunities and labour force participation of women.

2. There is a clear unfairness in the Kyrgyz society. We proved that even when both partners work, women work more but unpaid, doing household chores, while men enjoy more leisure.

Project links: