High Court judge Teresiah Matheka has declared that carrying a pregnancy to a full term should be considered routine work.
However, she noted that in recent times, couples have been transferring the duties to third parties, particularly surrogate mothers who are paid to bear the children on their behalf. She suggested that it should be treated as work for mothers carrying pregnancy akin to their surrogate counterparts who are contracted to do the same.
The judge also held that child-rearing and housewifery should be treated as routine work in which those partaking in it can be paid.
In the event that a couple separates, the party that is left to take care of the children should get a sizeable sum of the marital property, the judge ruled. Further, she noted that the nine months a woman carries a baby in her womb should be taken into account by judges while presiding over family disputes. Matheka was evidently in defence of full-time housewives who, in the face of separation, are left deprived of all the marital property on the grounds of them not contributing through tangible income. She argued that while a party, in this case, a husband who works, may claim ownership of the property while sidelining the wife, the latter has the rights given she spent time at home looking after the children and overseeing other family affairs.
“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. It will be heard that the spouse at home was not employed thus they contributed nothing,” she said.
“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,” she added.
She was presiding over a case in which an estranged wife had sued her former husband seeking to have their marital property sold and the proceeds equally distributed amongst themselves.