Teresia Matheka, a Kenyan High Court judge, has reportedly declared that being a housewife is a full-time job that should be compensated in some way.
A judge presiding over a matrimonial property dispute stated that it is unjust for courts to rule that housewives contribute nothing to the family’s financial progress.
The complainant is said to be a divorced woman who wanted their family home sold and the proceeds split equally between her and her ex-husband.
The Judge stated that housewives should not claim that they do not work because they provide services in the home that would otherwise be outsourced and paid for. She went on to say that it is unjust to rely solely on visible income and the mindset that one must contribute money to the marriage to find value.
“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.
“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.”
The judge also urged her colleagues to take into account the 9 months of pregnancy when presiding over matrimonial cases. She believes that carrying a pregnancy is the same as working, noting that some couples have recently resorted to hiring surrogate mothers to bear their children for them.
In her decision on the case before her, Matheka ruled that the property be sold and the proceeds divided equally, or that one of the spouses buy out the other party by paying half the value of the property to which the party is entitled.