Category Archives: INSPIRATIONAL

OMG! My Unpaid Care Work created a dent in the GDP

‘My’ here refers to every woman in this world, without any differentiation of society, cast or creed. The common factor for every woman is that she has to manage cooking, washing, cleaning,  taking care of children and the elderly and numerous other activities that make a house a home. Such works are called Unpaid Care Work in economics.

It is not a new word. The necessity of including the Unpaid Care Work in the GDP calculation was suggested 80 years ago. That will be discussed later in this post.

According to a report by OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) “Neglecting Unpaid Care Work leads to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in individuals’ well-being and the value of time, which in turn limit policy effectiveness across a range of socio-economic areas, notably gender inequalities in employment and other empowerment areas.”

There was a report in the newspaper that the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) will conduct a survey in the household to know about the Unpaid Care Work done by the women. The reason being:

  • the gap being created in the GDP
  • the valuable service of the women that is lost to the society
  • the equality between man and woman.

Whether employed or unemployed, a woman, according to studies 75% of the household work is done by women. And in India 700 women do household and unpaid care and their work are unaccounted for in the GDP.

Unpaid Care Work

From time immemorial the work done by a woman at home is considered as a duty. A dutiful woman wakes up early in the morning, before everyone else, and takes care of the entire family.

A woman having a job does two jobs every day. She hardly gets a break on a Sunday.

                   Statistics of Unpaid Work

Country                   Women             Men          Gender Gap Index
                                         %                        %                         Rank
India                                 66                           12                            108
China                               44                            16                            100
USA                                  50                             31.5                           49
UK                                     56.7                         32                               15

Statistics of 2017

Everything was fine. Women considered the household duties as their commitment and worked to the bones to do her best for the family.  The outlook towards the household work, done by women changed when the UN did some GDP calculations. They discovered that there was the gap in the GDP of all the countries because the contribution of the women at home is overlooked. 13% of the world GDP was from the unaccounted Unpaid Care Work.

What do Celebrities say about their Unpaid Care Work?

There was a report that Serena Williams, who is also a mother, said she is finding it difficult to balance her profession and home. She says that managing the house and a profession is an art.

Exactly, she is right. Managing the home and the job is an art. Either you are a good homemaker or you are a good professional. As Indira Nooyi said once, ‘ Women cannot have it all’.

The first woman to voice the above sentiment, Anne-Marie Slaughter, later realized that ‘no one can have it all’. She gives her own example, where she is the main breadwinner. Her husband takes care (or more care) of the children. She refers to him as ‘lead parent’ and herself as ‘non-lead parent’.

Who sacrifices well paid, high-profile career?

Because of the scores of care and routine household works to be taken care of, many potential women employees give up their job or take up part-time jobs. Their non-participation is a loss to the  GDP.

One disturbing trend, nowadays in Indian metros,  is that well-educated women are giving up their jobs so as to take care of the family. A woman, in her early thirties, holding a prestigious position in a Bank, left the job to take care of the family. She is now doing some work from home.

                                           INDIA

(Time spent by both genders on paid and unpaid works in India)

                                      Women          Men

Unpaid Work               297                   31
Paid Work                     160                   360
(in minutes)

Why women leave their jobs

The reason why the well-educated women leave their job is that their salary is minuscule in comparison with that of their spouse.

Or maybe they have inherited a fortune. So they feel that their income hardly make any differce in the financial security of the family. So they choose to remain home as their service is required more at home than the society.

Unpaid Care Work

Another reason could be that the salary that is offered is not in tandem with the expense they have to manage. When a woman leaves for work she has to appoint a maid for washing dishes and cleaning the house. Arrange tuition for the children. Arrange a reliable driver to take them to the tuitions and extracurriculars.

All the expenses amount to between 10,000-15,000. If you appoint a cook and home nurse then the expenses with be much higher.

If the woman is going to earn around 20000  per month, she feels that ‘sitting at home’ is better. She can do all the above-mentioned work with more dedication and she can save the travelling time and expense.

What are the consequences of excluding household production from national accounts?

It leads to misestimating households’ material well-being and societies’ wealth. If included, Unpaid Care Work would constitute 40% of Swiss GDP (Schiess and SchönBühlmann,2004) and would be equivalent to 63% of Indian GDP (Budlender, 2008). ‘OEC’s report on Unpaid Care Work’

How we perceive the household work?

Generally, the household work done by women is perceived as a leisurely activity because the work is not time bound. On the contrary that is not the truth. Women have to plan, stick to a routine and work in a time schedule only then she can accomplish her duties.

Household work also involves a lot of stress. Household duty is serious business. If she skips one activity in a day the whole family is affected.

If we convert the household services into money, the UN says that it comes to 13 per cent of global GDP. Since we fail to oversee the household work as a paid job there are some serious flaws in the GDP of the countries.

UN says that if the government does not take care of the situation then the growth of the country will be affected.

How should the household work be perceived?

Firstly the quantum of household work done by women at home should be given a monetary value. Secondly, the Government should be able to provide care systems, so that the women can go out and work in their field of interest. Their contribution is equally important for the progress of the nation. Unpaid Care Work is an essential determiner in evaluating the social well-being of a Nation.

What is GDP?

80 years ago British economists Richard Stones and James Meade formulated a method to calculate national income. Now it is being used as the global stand to evaluate the economic growth of a country.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) gives an estimate of the financial products of the country. The GDP measures both the income and expenditure of the good and services.

The woman behind Unpaid Care Work in GDP

Phyllis Deane, an apprentice, hired by these eminent economists felt that the Unpaid household work also must be included in the GDP. She argued that a vast amount of productive activity done by women was not listed in the GDP.

She contended that the labour of cooking, taking care of elderly and children, collecting firewood, is traditionally considered as women’s work. After months of research in villages in Africa, Deane concluded that an all-inclusive GDP, that increased National income, can be formulated only if all producer, including rural women, are accounted.

Her recommendation was not considered in the GDP calculation in the past seven decades. Now that the present formula is under criticism, Deans suggestion of including Unpaid Care Work (mostly female work) in GDP in being considered.

According to studies the number of people requiring care, elderly, children, the disabled and the ill will increase by 2030. If someone cuts down of a few hours of work or even relinquish the paid job in order to do Unpaid Care Work that will create a huge, irreplaceable damage in financial security.

According to a BBC report “Unpaid carers save the UK economy almost £60bn a year, suggests a new analysis of official figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). About 8% of the UK population living in private households acted as informal carers last year, the Department of Work and Pensions figures show. The ONS calculates that it would cost £56.9bn to replace these unpaid carers with paid workers.”

According to ILO report ‘Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work’s “If investment in care service provision does not increase by at least 0.5 percentage points of global GDP by 2030 from the current 6.4 per cent of global GDP (as of 2015), deficits in coverage will increase and the working conditions of care workers will deteriorate.”

Women do more underpaid work

ILO report further says, “In 2018, 606 million working-age women said that they were not able to do so because of Unpaid Care Work. Only 41 million men said they were not in the labour force for the same reason.”

Inequalities lower in high-income countries

Source: World Bank (2014), World Development Indicators and OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database. “Gender inequality in Unpaid Care Work is also related to the wealth of a country. Time use data reveals a negative correlation between income and levels of gender inequalities in Unpaid Care Work: the distribution of responsibilities is the most equal in high-income countries.”

When warriors of sea rowed their boats on hills and rescued thousands

From now on we will call them ‘Our Fishermen’. This was not the situation until yesterday, Aug 18th, 2018.

Tsunami and Ockhi destroyed their homes and killed their loved ones. But we did not go to their midst to help them. Every other day there is a news of fishermen gone missing in the sea or dying.  We consider such incidents are a part of their occupation.

But when the Fishermen heard of the tragedy of their fellow human being. They came risking their lives. They brought their boat which is their source of livelihood. Their act of kindness gave us the assurance that humanity still exists.

When the waters were swallowing Kerala like a giant monster, the fire force, the police, the locals, the navy and many others came to the rescue of the victims. But there were rough terrains which hindered rescue operation.

The MLA of Chengannur, in Pathanamthitta, lamented that at least ten thousand people in his constituency will submerge in the waters if help does not reach in time.

Then something magical happened on Saturday, August 18th. Out of the 54,000 rescued on that day from Eranakulam district alone, 18000  were rescued by fishermen.

It was a spontaneous decision on the part of the fishermen to rise to the occasion. Someone in the fishermen’s Association suggested in the social media about the help fishermen can provide, and they acted on the spur of the moment.

They did not wait for any invitation or financial assistance from the Government. They arranged the fuel and trucks, on their own, to transport the boats to the affected area.

The Fishermen took their boats from their native places Ernakulam, Mallapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Malappuram, Thrissur and Kannur. They took the country boats to Aluva, Chengannur, Chalakudy, Mala, Kodungallur, Kuttanad, North Paravur and other places.

The hills and the low lying areas were submerged in water. In some places, the water level was over 8ft. high. The furious water and the unpredictable terrains hindered the navy from carrying rescue operations in some areas. Thousands were feared trapped in submerged single storey buildings.

In 600 country vessels, 1400 warriors of sea formed teams and ventured into the ferocious water rowing against the current. The boat got damaged due to harsh terrain, low water and rough weather.

Sometimes the mobiles did not work. Some of them were bitten by the poisonous insects. They had to jump in waters, risking electrocution to rescue women, little children and elderly.

At one place the women could not climb into the boat. So a fisherman, Jaisal, provided his back to allow the women to get in the boat. He was an instant hero on the Social Media. But Jaisal says that compared to the daring rescue operations done by some of his friends, his act was nothing.

The tech-savvy younger generation fisher flock had a huge role to play. Some of them, who were students, decided to join the rescue operations. Some of them were successful in convincing their reluctant parents to take the boat for rescue and also to join and lead the team.

The fishermen have become overnight heroes in Kerala, just like firefighters became heroes on September 11 in the US. The fishermen are now called as Kerala’s Army and the superheroes of Kerala like Spiderman, Superman and Batman are superheroes of Hollywood.

Chris van Avery, a former American Sailor says in his blog “The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.”

The fishermen are chosen men of the sea who they call Kadal Amma (Mother Sea). They are a community different from others. They are called the Mukkuvan (which means fishermen) and live as a community near the sea.  They have their own community rules and live one day at a time.

They were affected drastically by Tsunami and Ockhi. They venture into the sea for fishing even when there is a trawling ban.  Because fishing is their livelihood and they believe Kadal Amma will protect them.

The famous novel, Chemmeen, by Thakazhi Sivanakra Pillai,  in 1956, is about the fishermen community. The story is based on their belief that if the wife of the fisherman does not remain chaste when he is out in the sea, then kadalamma will kill him. The novel was made into a movie in 1965. The film was the first South Indian film to receive Indian President gold medal for a South Indian movie.

The fishermen are fearless and largehearted. During the shooting of Chemeen, it is said the fishing community opened their homes and gave boat for free for the shooting.

They are not dejected by the ups and downs in their life. When they go to sea sometimes they return empty handed and sometimes with a chagara (bounty).

They are non-materialistic. Remember the Nobel price winning Novel by Earnest Hemmingway ‘Man and the Sea’. In that story, a fisherman, who could not catch fish for 84 days, goes to the sea and catches a huge shark. He ties the shark to the boat as it was too huge to be put inside the boat. By the returned to the shore, he found that there only bones, the flesh was all eaten by small fish. He abandons the skeleton of the fish on the shores and goes home and sleeps.

The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, announced that Rs 3000 per day will be given to each member of the fishermen community. But Khais Mohammed, a fisherman, said is an FB post that they refused to take the money for saving lives.

Combatting natural elements is not new for Keralites. But, as mentioned in another post, Keralites were forgetting their skills to combat natures fury because of the invasion of technologies, consumerist culture and addiction to social media.

The ones (fishermen) who are even today sharpening their skill by battling the natural element, could save the rest of their fellow human beings.

People of Chengannur thanking the fishermen for saving their lives.

Many functions are arranged to honour the bravery of the Fishermen. They never waited for any accolades or rewards. On 20th the rescue work was over and from the 21st the returned to the sea for fishing

Their only demand is that their boats must be repaired. They say the repairing work will cost between 1-2 lakh for each boat.

5 fathers of Science who were childless

A man who initiated a concept, or invented a product, is often referred to as the father of that thing. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi is known as the founding father of Indian independence or father of the Nation.

There are many fathers of science and invention who were childless. They were so dedicated to the work that some of them did not get married. Some of them were married but died issueless.

They had emotions and loved their families. They took care of their parents, siblings and children of siblings. Their commitment was inclined towards the greater common good.

Nicolaus Copernicus

Father of Astronomy
fathers of science
Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus is famous for the Copernicus theory, heliocentrism. He was a mathematician and an astronomer who formulate the theory that sun and not the earth was at the centre of the solar system.

Copernicus never married and did not have any children. He took care of the five children of his sister Katharina after her death.

Isaac Newton

Father of Physics
fathers of science
Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is accepted as the father of Physics, for jumpstarting the scientific revolution. Newton’s 3 laws of motion are famous. Especially the third law of motion is quoted even by those who have no inclination to science. ‘For every action, there is equal and opposite reaction’.

He was a chronic bachelor. He divided all his estates among his relatives before his death.

Nikola Tesla

Father of Radio
fathers of science
Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was an engineer, physicist, inventor and poet, to name a few. We know a lot about his contemporary Thomas Alva Edison. Tesla worked for a while with Edison.

Tesla is the inventor of wireless communication. He is now accepted as a pioneer of wireless communication by the Science world. He invented the AC current. His contribution to the present day is so immense that there are many things named after him, like:

  • Teslas, an SI derived unit
  • Tesla an electric car manufacturer
  • Nikola Tesla Award

He never married and he said that he was doing a sacrifice for his work. Though he earned a lot of money as patents and contracts he was mostly penniless because of his zeal for investing in scientific experiments. He worked until the end of his life at the age of 84.

Gregor Mendel

Father of Genetics
fathers of science
Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel was an abbot or a priest. He was from a traditional farming background. Both financial and health issues came in the way of his studies. Yet he did get a formal University education. He was an abbot with a scientific zeal. He is said to have chosen the monastic life so that his livelihood will be taken care of while pursuing science.

He experimented with peas and learnt about traits of inheritance. His works are the first in the field of Genetic inheritance. The laws of ‘Mendelian inheritance‘ were rediscovered and understood nearly two decades after his death. And he was accepted as the ‘father of modern genetics‘.

He was a monk. His sister Theresia helped him with his studies by giving him her dowry. Later he helped her three sons and two of them became doctors.

Leonardo da Vinci

Father of Palaeontology and ichnology
fathers of science
Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is famously known as a painter. He was also a scientist, philosopher, architect, mathematician and writer, to name a few. His paintings are still being decoded for the layers of mystery.

He was a bachelor and an illegitimate child of his father. He had twelve step-siblings.

He divided all his assets among his devout disciples, siblings and serving-woman.

Fathers of Science who had children

There were many more founding fathers like Perrie Curie, Albert Einstein and Hippocrates. They had wives and children yet they had sacrificed their lives for their work.

Mother of Science

It is said that Perrie Curie’s, wife Marie Curie, daughter and son-in-law died of died of diseases related to high exposure to radioactive substances. Marie and Perries had accidentally and voluntarily been exposed to radioactive substances during their experiments to discover polonium and radium. (Marie Curie is known as the mother of modern physics).

A salute to all the Fathers of Science on this fathers day for their dedicated, courageous and undying spirit for discovery and invention.

Happy Fathers Day!

(Thanks to the Suggestive Topic on Blog Compass, the Gooogle Apps for Bloggers. Yesterday ‘Fathers Day’ was one of the trending topics on google. I got inspired to write a post dedicated to all the fathers in the world.)

If Jesus Christ were a blogger

Have you ever seen any picture of Jesus Christ in writing posture? No, you won’t. Because he never wrote anything. But the largest number of books, in the world, is written about the works of Jesus and his sayings. He never wrote, yet some of his stories and parables are used even today for motivational talks. The phrases he coined have become part and parcel of many languages.

Why Jesus Christ never wrote is because he was always surrounded by thousands of people and out of them many were writers. They made note of all the works and sayings of Christ. It is said that hundreds of books were written by eyewitnesses who followed Jesus. Out of that, in the Bible, there are four books about the works of Jesus written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Matthew and John were among the twelve disciples of Jesus. Luke, a physician, followed Jesus everywhere. And Mark wrote the eyewitness account as told by the favourite disciple of Jesus, Peter.

Every writer’s dream is that their work continues to live for ages. The words of Jesus reverberates even today.

Bloggers can learn a few lessons about how to blog from the way Jesus communicated and connected with the multitude.

He is a storyteller

Jesus uses many stories and parables to make the multitude understand the messages that he gives them. He tells them the story of the Good Samaritan, to teach the people that they must love their enemies. He tells the story of the master who gives talents to his three servants. Whereby he explains that the people must utilize all the resources that God has given them. These stories are nowadays used for motivational training.

He uses the right platforms for his sermons

At the time of Jesus Ministry, there were no sound systems. His audience belonged to every class of the society from beggars to Royalties. His listeners followed him in multitudes, to listen to his teachings. So he chose his platforms where his sound could be heard to the thousands that followed him.

It might sound exaggerating, but it is a fact that five to seven thousand people including women and children followed him everywhere. There are two stories in the Bible, of miracles, where he feeds five and seven thousand people who came to listen to him.

It is said about the famous sermon on the mount that, “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down………….and He began to teach them,……….”(St Matthew 5:2,3). Those who have visited Israel say that the mountain has a good echo system. Whatever Jesus said reverberated on the mountains and reached the multitudes sitting far away from him.

Another time he sat on a boat and talked to the people standing beside of the Lake. “Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon and asked him to put out a little from shore. And sitting down, He taught the people from the boat.” (St. Luke 5:3) Again, here the water of the lake reverberates what Jesus says.

On other occasions, he spoke at the synagogues.  Every time his teachings touched the hearts of multitudes of listeners.

He had multitude of followers

A dream of every blogger is to have thousands of followers on facebook, twitter,  google plus and Instagram. Jesus was followed by thousands wherever he went.

He spoke with authority

You can speak or write with authority when you have mastery over the subject. At the age of twelve, Jesus was asking questions to the teachers and priests in the temple. And they were marvelled at his understanding of the scriptures. When his parents came searching for him in the temple he told them that he was in his father’s (heavenly father) home.

He always spoke with authority sometimes to the discomfort of the authorities and the religious heads. But whatever he said he had open supporters like his disciples and secret supporter like Joseph of Arimathea.

His words created ripple effects

He never wrote a  word. And whatever he said was written long after the ministry of Jesus Christ on Earth. Whatever he said was spread by word of mouth.

In the multitude of listeners, there were spies making a note of every word he said. There were teachers and religious heads waiting for a chance to trap him with questions. He had a good mixture of listeners and critiques around him.

From the public, he got instant reactions for whatever he did or said. The public was always aware of his itinerary.  One day Jesus decided to enter the temple of Jerusalem. When the people came to know they spread his path with their robes, held palm leaves in their hand and shouted Hosanna.

When Jesus entered the temple he saw it was turned into a marketplace. He drove all the merchants out with a chord used to driving out animals, saying “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’, But, you have made it a den of robbers!”

He said and did things what often others thought, but they never dared to express. Readers expect the bloggers, they follow, to write things that the reader often thinks but is unable to express. He expects the blogger to express  ideas with boldness, clarity and authority.