Women ask: Where is our Trillion Dollar output? Part 1

Are we being unfair to women asks Professor R Vaidyanathan

Are we being unfair to women asks Professor R Vaidyanathan
Are we being unfair to women asks Professor R Vaidyanathan

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]henever some visitors asked my elder sister “do you work” she used to be amused. She used to say “what else do I do from 5AM to 10PM every day?”. For most people household work is not considered as “work”. It is not included in computing National income or GDP.  National income by definition is an aggregate of Products and services produced in a country during the year. But household work is not included in the services.

In other words only paid services are included. For instance if you marry your servant maid then the national income will come down. Believe me!

I had a most sagacious and wise Prof Moni Mukherjee as my National Income paper—teacher in my Post Graduation at the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta. I was curious and gathered courage [in those days you don’t meet Professors in the “staff room” and ask questions!] and asked him about this issue.

He mentioned to me that the “Euro-Centric world view regarding unpaid household work is accepted as the “given wisdom” and followed by all the Economists and Economies”. This means that  bringing up children/ cooking/ keeping house in order and taking care of home economy are not considered as “productive”.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]hen you investigate further you find that it is related to the “idea of women” as propagated by the Abrahamic faiths primarily Islam — who call themselves as “Religion of Peace” – RoP – and Christianity who call themselves as “Religion of Love” – RoL.

Unfortunately neither of these faiths—which rules more than half of the world—accepted woman as equal or “productive”. Christianity for centuries did not recognize women have “soul” and Islam treated them as a protective “meat”.

So one of the important premise was to “de-legitimize” their contribution to the world at large more so in the sphere of Economics and computation of National Income. Therefore, to earn legitimacy they must join the “workforce”. In the initial period of Crusades/ Jihads many of them were needed as nurses to tend to the injured and so nursing as a profession was “glorified” by men. Florence of Nightingale became a symbol of “highest form of sacrifice—more so Productivity”.

To be continued…

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Prof R. Vaidyanathan

Cho S Ramaswamy Visiting Chair Professor of Public policy[CRVCPPP]

Sastra University

An expert in Finance and a two times Fulbright Scholar, Prof. R Vaidyanathan is a much sought after author, speaker and TV commentator on all items related to Money and Finance.
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