September 27, 2021

Summary

Women’s efforts in carrying a pregnancy and caring for children at home should be recognized as work when it comes to division of matrimonial property, a judge has ruled.

More by Winnie Kabintie

Matrimonial Property – Caring for Children is a Full-time Job

Matrimonial Property – Caring for Children is a Full-time Job

George Okulo, 67, and Rispa Awina, 56, help their daughter in law, Mercy Awino Okoth, 23, with her baby, Blevins Okoth, 1 year 3 months. Mercy has gone through the MCB program sponsored by THRIVE. She wants to go back to school to do early childhood development, which her in-laws support. Her husband, their son Boaz, 31, is a boda boda driver. The family has had hard times. George had a good job in Nairobi but was laid off and so he returned back to this Homa Hills area but the drought and other factors has made it very difficult for the family. They have 17 grandchildren. Photo: Rispa Awina, 56 with her grandson, Blevin Okoth, 1 yr. The CRS THRIVE II project in Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi helps children from birth to age 5 receive high-quality services and support so they can reach their potential. The project helps children achieve developmental milestones and teaches both mothers and fathers best parenting practices.

Women’s efforts in carrying a pregnancy and caring for children at home should be recognized as work when it comes to the division of matrimonial property, a judge has ruled.

According to Justice Teresiah Matheka, it is unfair to rule that housewives contributed less or nothing when caring for a child is a full-time job that should be recognized as such.

The judge says that considering the society today has been able to monetize carrying a baby through a surrogate or pay babysitters for the job, stay-at-home mums need to be recognized for their work as well.

“Raising Children Is A Full Time Job”

“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,” Justice Matheka said.

“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.”

“That can no longer be a tenable argument as it is a fact that stay-at-home parents and in particular women because of our cultural connotations do much more work (housewives) due to the nature of the job,” she said.

Justice Matheka made the ruling while determining a dispute between a couple of code-named MW and AN, where the woman had moved to court seeking to get a share of a property in Nakuru that was acquired before their marriage dissolved in 2011.

Justice Matheka ordered that they should sell the property and split proceeds equally or in the alternative buy out the other party by paying half of the value of the property.

Unpaid Care Work

Justice Teresiah Matheka landmark ruling on recognizing a woman’s efforts in giving birth and caring for children in a domestic setup comes in the wake of increased lobbying globally that seeks to raise awareness on the value of unpaid care work as an important aspect of economic activity and an indispensable factor contributing to the well-being of individuals, their families and societies.

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