Skip to main content

Value of women's 'unpaid' labour in India 40% vs global 13%, can add 27% to GDP

By Sheshu Babu*
In analyzing economic data, various sectors like industry, agriculture, services, etc. are taken into account. But domestic work done by women is rarely 'measured' by analysts. A woman getting up early to make ready food for working husbands is very valuable but it does not figure in the estimates relating to economic figures.
In a compilation made two decades ago by the Global Women's Strike campaign, unwaged work contributes as much as £ 739 bn to the British economy. Two-thirds of women working out of the home full time did most of the housework.
It also showed that women in waged work with young children do 46 hours a week of housework (childcare, cooking, laundry, shopping, gardening, etc.) compared to 25 hours by men.
Things do not seem to have changed ever since. Worldwide, women spend an average of 4.5 hours on unpaid work including grocery, shopping, etc. That is more than double the time men spend, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data released in 2016. 
Relative to women, men spend the most time doing chores in the Scandinavian countries , and the least time in India , Mexico, Turkey and Japan.
In India, women spend six hours and men spend less than an hour, the data suggest. Even in the United States, women spend about four hours a day on unpaid work, compared with 2.5 hours for men.
According to Shahra Razavi, chief of the research and data section at the UN Women, there is a reason this kind of 'unpaid work' is not calculated in GDP -- because society still sees ' "women's work" as less valuable. "If women stopped doing lot of the work they do unpaid, then the whole economy would collapse", she says. Many technological appliances like dishwashers, laundry machines, etc are accessible to rich women only.
Thus, the estimation of economic growth may not reflect the hard domestic labour behind statistical figures. In India, according to the Census of 2011, people engaged in household duties were considered as "non-workers" even when 159.9 million women stated that "household work" was their main occupation.
In a report , the International Monetary Fund suggested that if women's participation was raised to that of men, then India would grow its GDP by 27%. While the global unpaid labour hovers around 13%, its value in India is almost 40% of its current GDP.
Hence, the value is very significant and also crucial for over all development of a country. This should be kept in view while computing growth figures. A form of measurement of domestic work must be developed so that such important wing of socio-economic sector gains prominence. The welfare of a family, a society, state, country or the world at large finally depends on basic domestic chores management.
Men should participate more and more in domestic work to relieve women from stress specially women doing paid job work are also burdened with 'unpaid' domestic work thereby causing health hazards.
When the time spent by women shrinks to three hours a day from five hours, their labour force participation increases by 20%, according to OECD. Hence, there should be a balanced approach and women should not be burdened or over burdened with unpaid domestic work.
---
*The writer from anywhere and everywhere, believes in empowerment of marginalised sections

Comments

TRENDING

RSS wanted Constitution 'replaced' by Manusmriti which abused Dalits, women

By Shamsul Islam* The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949 which is celebrated as the Constitution Day This Constitution promised new born Indian Republic a polity based on democracy, justice, egalitarianism and rule of law. However, RSS was greatly annoyed. Four days after the historic event of approval of it, the RSS English “Organiser” in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

Dalits 'celebrate' Constitutional Power Era in 12,500 villages of 16 districts on Nov 26

By Pradip More*  It is a fact that the majority of the people do not have much knowledge about the law, and especially the Constitution. Yet, today's younger generation is becoming increasingly aware of its rights. One wished it would have been good if it was taught about the Constitution well in the schools.

Critics of your government should not be in jail: PUCL shoots open letter to Modi

Counterview Desk In an open letter, Ravikiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, general secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have taken strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s view that raising human rights issues can ‘tarnish’ the country’s reputation, stating, those who raise human rights concerns do it “through established United Nations mechanisms such as the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.”

Mysterious death of Kishenji 'triggered' series of splits in Maoist camp in India

By Harsh Thakor* On November 24 fell the 10th death anniversary of Kishenji, a prominent Maoist leader, he was also a poet, a scientist, and a soldier. Since his school days he dreamt of planting the seed to create new man. Born in 1954 in Peddapally town (in Karimnagar district, north Telangana), Kishenji was raised by his father Venkataiah (a “freedom fighter”, he called him) and a progressive mother, Madhuramma.

Covid taught us: Exams are cruel process of 'eliminating' those seeking education

By Sandeep Pandey, Seema Muniz, Gopal Krishna Verma* Some people are disheartened with the disruption in children’s education due to the menace of Covid and the successive lockdowns. While a number of children are getting used to attending online classes, their counterparts from the weaker socio-economic backgrounds continue to struggle either because of unfamiliarity with technology or because of having to share a single device with their siblings and/or parents. More unfortunate ones have been completely pushed out of the system which has resulted in the virtual drop in the rate of enrolment.

Book on Bhil rebels offers other side of history, neglected by 'nationalist' historians

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  One of the major accusations against Indian historians is that of neglecting and ignoring the role of the marginalised in the freedom struggle. Most of the time, we are ‘informed’ that there were some ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ of the freedom movement, all of them belonging to the same stock of caste as well as ‘power’ positions as their opponents.

Govt of India responsible for 71% delays in NREGA wage payments, say economists

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than 70 economists have urged the Government of India to release “adequate funds” for implementing the rural jobs guarantee scheme under the MGNREGA immediately, pointing out that the pandemic continues to adversely affect the living condition of working families.

'We are scared to even raise our voice': Delhi sewer workers tell roundtable

By Our Representative  A roundtable attended by more than 100 sewer workers in Delhi, saw sharp voices against the contract system, poor wages and lack of any social benefits. Organised by the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM), which has refused to reveal the identity of the sewer workers who spoke on the occasion for fear of retaliation from the authorities, saw workers complain that have been working for more than 10 years, hoping that someday they would be made permanent.

Govt of India's 'narrative' of hate, 'clarion call' for onslaught on civil society: Ex-babus

Counterview Desk  Addressing “fellow citizens”, the Constitution Conduct Group (CCG), having former prominent civil servants as it members, has said that recent assertions by National Human Rights Commission National Human Rights Commission Justice (retd) Arun Mishra, the Prime Minister and General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, portent a deliberate and disturbing strategy to “deny civil society the space and wherewithal for its operation.”

Arrest of top J&K civil society leader shows contempt for international law: PUCL

Counterview Desk  Commenting on the arrest of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, India’s top human rights advocacy group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that the Government of India action is “one more attempt ... to silence peaceful, non-violent dissenters”, adding, it suggests how “a brutalizing state machinery" has been acting.