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Child Labour, Education and the Principle of Non-Discrimination

UNICEF estimates that out of the 115 million children out of school, 62 million of them are girls. Many of these children work but traditional indicators of child labour often underestimate the amount of girls’ work because they ignore household chores. The human rights principle of non-discrimination requires that all work by children – whether of a domestic nature or not – be considered equally in the analysis of child labour. This paper presents estimates of child labour in sub-Saharan Africa that include household chores and thus reveal the discrimination against girls. The authors also investigate to what extent participation in child labour leads to lower school attendance and increased repetition and drop-out rates, and whether child labour affects girls and boys differently. The data in the study were collected in MICS and DHS household surveys from 18 African countries.