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

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include 350.org , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).