Gender And Work

  • It is important to understand how gender influences our lives in order to bring about any change in prescribed roles and norms.
  • While the activity is ongoing, it might happen that some of the girls may feel constrained by their gender norms and may feel they are weak and incapable of change. The facilitator needs to be considerate of these constraints and, with great care and patience, remove these misconceptions and make them understand that such feelings are a reflection of the gender-defined roles and norms.
  • You may want to do both activities or just the first one.
  • For Part I of this activity, use a large sheet of paper. Mark out two columns "work" and "who". Then under the "work" column, list out chores and work done at home such as cooking, cleaning, sweeping, washing, childcare, shopping for vegetables, shopping for household goods, etc. (An alternative to this is during the activity ask the girls to list out chores at home and write them on the paper as they speak.)
  • For Part II of the activity, use the same sheet of paper as in Part I and highlight the chores/work that can be done both at home as well as outside as a source of income.
  • Flipchart or Chalkboard
  • Pens/Markers or Chalk
Time Required: 
One hour
  • To understand how people perceive differences between men and women.
  • To understand how traditional gender roles are played out between men and women.
  • To show how some differences are stereotypes.

Part I

Paste the prepared sheet with ‘work’ and ‘who does’ on the wall so that all girls can see it.


Type of Work

Who does this work at home?  Man/ Woman/ Both



Washing clothes


Washing dishes


Shopping for vegetables


Filling water


Earning money


Caring for the sick at home


Dropping children at school


Arranging marriages for children


School admission for children

a. Who makes the decisions?


b. Who goes to admit them in school?


Taking children out of school?

a. Who makes the decisions?


b. Who goes to school to take the children out?


Sweeping and cleaning


Watching TV in the evening


Drinking alcohol



  1. Read out each chore listed and ask the girls who usually does this at home – male relatives, female relatives or both.
  2. Based on the consensus of the group mark ‘male’, ‘female’ or ‘both male and female’ in front of each of the type of work listed.
  3. Engage the girls in a discussion about the gender division of work, using the discussion questions.


Part II

  1. After completing the discussion for Part I of this activity, go back to the list that was created with the types of work done by men and those done by women.
  2. Go through each item and ask girls whether this type of work can be done outside as a source of income as well – such as cooking can be done outside the home to earn an income by being employed as a cook or a chef, etc.

Once you have identified the chores that can be also undertaken as an occupation, mark them using a highlighter or write them on another sheet of paper. Paste this sheet of paper on the wall with the list of work written on one side. Mark two more columns: ‘who does this work at home’ and ‘who does this work outside as an occupation’.

Type of occupation

Who does this at home? ( Man or Woman) 

Who does this as an occupation outside the home? ( Man or Woman)

Stitching (tailoring)






Serving food (in a hotel/restaurant)


Washing (laundry)


Teaching children (tutor)



  1. Go through the list and ask the girls to list out who usually does these chores/activities at home – man or woman? Write the group consensus against the activity/work in column two.
  2. Then ask the girls who usually does this same work/activity outside the home as an occupation/source of income – man or woman. Once again, in column three write in the response that has the group consensus.
  3. Engage the girls in a discussion using the questions below.


Discussion Questions: 

Part I

  • Are there certain types of work which are more commonly done by men? Are there certain types of work which are more commonly done by women? What are the reasons for these differences?
  • At home, what decisions are made by women and what decisions are made by men?
  • Who usually decides which type of work should be done by whom within the home and outside the home?
  • Are these divisions in roles okay? If yes, why? If not, why not?
  • Do you think it is possible to change these gender differences in work and decision making? How?

Part II

  • Are there certain types of work that are done by women at home and by men outside the home as an occupation? What do you think are the reasons for these differences?
  • Are there some tasks that are not considered work – such as when women take care of children at home and their household? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that there are certain types of work that women are not able do? Why? What are these types of work?
  • Do you believe that there are certain types of work that men are not able do? Why? What are these types of work?
  • What is the role of family in shaping norms of what is work for men and what is work for women?
  • Nowadays, more and more women are working outside the home and earning an income. So, is it okay for the man to work at home and share the responsibility of household chores? Do you think this happens? Why or why not?