Tag Archives: women

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.”

4 reasons why you must join fashion and lifestyle community of Sheroes

Fashion and lifestyle are fast evolving. We are influenced by the fashion and lifestyle of various parts of the world. If we look at our food habits – we have western food for breakfast like cereals and bread. We have Indian food for lunch like roti or rice. We have Italian or Chinese for dinners like pizza or noodles.

Our dressing is a mix of the traditional and the western. We wear the casual Indian tops and western trousers or jeans for work. We wear traditional wears for weddings or family function. For parties, we wear the fashionable western gowns.fashion and lifestyle community

Inevitably, every aspect of our fashion and lifestyle is being influenced by the global trends. We need to look and behave in a certain manner so that we are accepted in our workplace and social circuits. There are certain unwritten fashion and lifestyle rules which are followed by the people of all age groups. We need to remain updated on what is the latest fashion and lifestyle quotient around the world.

Gone are the days when we could stay in the comfort zone of our friends and family.  Now we have to make presence felt in the outer world. We need to be comfortable interacting with people other than our family and friends.

We need a style guru, we need a consultant for our various needs like psychological, fashion, family matter. We need an expert to give us an opinion, if possible from more than one person, for our queries on anything and everything under the sun. Our friends may be unable to give answers to all our doubts. And we cannot fix paid appointments to get answers to all our doubts.

For all your fashion and lifestyle requirements you can join the fashion and lifestyle community of Sheroes. The fashion and lifestyle community is for every woman whether she is a creator, an entrepreneur or a homemaker. By becoming a member of the community you can share information about your business. You share pictures of the beautiful products you make. And you can do a lot of networking.

If you are more comfortable on your mobile, then you can download the Sheroes fashion and lifestyle community app.

fashion and lifestyle community

Some of the benefits of joining the fashion and lifestyle community are as follows

Peer to peer interaction

You can interact with women of your age group and experience online camaraderie.

Answers from fashion experts

There are fashion Experts in the fashion and lifestyle community to answer all your queries related to fashion and beauty.

Meeting people with a common interest

There is a saying that birds of same feather folk together. To be connected with people of similar interest is a matter of enhancing and nurturing our stream of activity. For instance, if you love fashion designing, here you can find people to give you ideas to create beautiful designs and also prospective buyers.

An everyday dose of beauty tips

Standing out in a crowd is very essential today. No matter in which field you are your appearance speaks a lot about you. In the fashion and lifestyle community get tips on how to dress up beautifully on a daily basis.

She became a journalist at 40, and completes more than 40 years of Journalism

Leela Menon is the Mamooty and Mohanlal of Journalism in Kerala. Even after forty years in the field of journalism, her position as the most dynamic Journalist in Kerala remains unrivalled. Twenty years back when I joined Indian Express, Kochi, for an internship, Leela Menon was working there. She was one of my inspirations to join journalism.

Leela Menon, 83, has got enthusiasm and tremendous memory that people half her age do not have. Some of her investigative reports paved the way for social changes, especially for the women. One such story she always narrates is about reporting of the prostitution happening at a village called Aruvacode. The villagers who were potters turned to prostitution when pottery business became unprofitable.

Leela Menon went to the village with photographer Jeevan Jose and made a report that gained national attention. Finally, the potters were taught to make terracotta pots. And thus the village was back to a normal village.

She wielded her pen to bring changes to the society, especially to the women. At Indian Express, the senior journalists used to advise me to write like Leela Menon. She was the yardstick.

Her wording, whether about humans or animals, was so powerful that when she wrote a report steps were taken on a war footing. Once she reported about how using elephants at a certain function was cruelty to the animal. Immediate steps were taken to ban the parading of elephants at the function again.

Leela Menon, might be a rare achiever in India, who has been working from the age of 18 in 1948 to the present date. She started her career at the Post Office and went on to become the first woman telegraphist in the post office. When a Journalist, from Indian Express, published story about the telegraphist, ‘sitting pretty at the post office’ she became interested in Journalism. After getting trained in Journalism, she became a journalist with Indian Express.

Her journalist instinct, nose for news, was so strong that sometimes she could bring out powerful, life-changing stories by just sitting in her office. She tells when she was at the desk in Delhi, Indian Express, her air hostess roommate told her that they were not allowed to marry when in service. Leela Menon interviewed some air hostesses and wrote a story that not allowing them to marry was against their fundamental right. Her story paved the way to change the law that prevented air hostess from marrying.

She was born in an aristocratic family, in a pristine village in Eranakulam district of Kerala. She was surrounded by book and the beautiful landscapes in her childhood. She married Bhaskara Menon who was very supportive of all her works.

Leela Menon is a fighter, who survived second stage cancer in the 1990’s. When I met her she was so jovial and energetic that little did I know that, at that time, she was actually a cancer survivor. She now gives counselling to cancer patients. A heart attack and facial palsy could not dampen her spirit.

She is now the Editor in Chief at Janmabhoomi.

When I tried to contact her I came to know that she is under treatment at a hospital in Kochi. Wish you, Mam, a speedy recovery.

And Happy Women’s Day.