Women series – Part 2: Can India be called a Feminine Economy?

Since India is a women centric civilization, should it be called a Feminine economy?

Since India is a women centric civilization, should it be called a Feminine economy?
Since India is a women centric civilization, should it be called a Feminine economy?

Part 1 of this post Where is our Trillion Dollar Output? can be read here. This is the second and concluding part.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]n the earlier stages of Industrialization and Corporate development a large number of women were needed as blue collar workers and also as typists/ coffeemakers in offices and as assistants. So office work began to be encouraged and household work undermined. Also efforts were made to reduce the household work from time and efforts point of view by new gadgets like cooker etc.

Still women were not given any position of importance in the outside workplace. And so they were encouraged to “Break Glass Ceilings” to get into higher positions in workforce. Slowly advertisements/ TV serials/ Cinemas began to talk of “burden of family”, “children are burden/ encumbrances” at the same time children are needed by the society and so “Super Mom’s” were created by the business and media to make women work at home as well as office.

Women are encouraged to be more and more be active in “office work” and they are encouraged to demand equal pay for equal work — instead of recognizing the massive work done at home.  Their “worth” is proved only if they perform the “Acts of Men” whether it is combatants role in the Army or Speed car racing. They are permanently made to feel inferior by these “tricks”. Hence a huge mass of “Feminists” have been developed by business and corporate men to compete with men and prove their worth. Women unfortunately have fallen into this new trap to “prove” themselves.

Corporate business has also made society into a “Sex centric” one from a “Family Centric” one, since societies which are family centric “respect” women in the household as mother/ grandmother/ mother-in-law etc. But modern business does not want a society which “respects” women but a society where “women “are craving for rights and which are thrown as crumbs by men. The arrival of Marx and communism reinforced this stereotype of women in military/ women in factories and offices as “progressive” and women at home as “backward”.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]N[/dropcap]ot only that, most of these “developed” countries gave their women voting rights after much agitations and some like Switzerland as late as 1971 in their federal elections.

Unfortunately instead of questioning this whole hypothesis and premise women fell for the single largest trick of men in making them feel that they are worthies only if they ape men in dress/ food/ aggression and “office work”.

Post contraceptive revolution they are told that they can be more active in paid work place since Child birth is now a choice. Instead of burning women in stalks by calling them witches the modern business burns them in office by asking to “perform”/ excel and show results along with unaccounted household work.

The fundamental point that household work is not treated as “productive service” was never discussed since all “renowned Economists” were men.

Colonized countries like India also adopted the same route since colonizers wanted to create a mirror image of their civilization on the “unwashed” in terms of culture/ language/ economics etc.

Hence we never count million women hours spent by women in cooking/ fetching water/ bringing up children etc. That is totally lost.

In a pioneering work “GDP and the Value of Family Caretaking: How Much Does Europe Care?”, Gianna C. Giannelli University of Florence et. al. [Discussion Paper No. 5046 July 2010 IZA– Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit Institute for the Study of Labor] estimates that for Europe as a whole, the total value of these activities ranges between 20.1 percent and 36.8 percent of the EU GDP, depending on the applied methodology.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]t is all the more shameful for a country like ours where major Gods are women and important things in life like Education/ Wealth and Valor are given as boons only by women Gods. We pray to Lakshmi for wealth / Saraswathi for Education/ knowledge,  Durga [Parvathi] for valor or power. Actually most men Gods can’t offer many of these worldly things. Not only that — most of the names of male gods is Pre-fixed with the name of his wife {not suffixed] like Sita Raman or Radha Krishnan.

We are one of the few living civilizations who recognized the contribution of Women Rishis like Gargi who questioned Sage Yajnavalkya.

We are essentially a “women centric civilization” and predominantly our economy can be called “Feminine Economics” unlike that of Europe and Middle East which are “Masculine Economics”. Masculine economies are destructive and anti-woman while as feminine Economies are nature and animal friendly and preserving by its design. Feminine economics is inclusive / collaborative and Cooperative. Masculine of the Abrahamic faiths are competitive as in war and exclusive and violent in nature.

In the last several centuries trillions of dollars of household work undertaken by women were not counted and it continues even today. In the context of the decline of the west and slow eclipse of Euro Centric view of the world—it is required for countries like India to re-think some of these basic things imposed by colonialism. Even if we take Housework to be same as the “measured work” in an economy like ours –we will find that our GDP is at least twice as big as it is currently counted.

The time has come for ancient but living non-Abrahamic civilizations like India to recognize the services of its women/ recount and make a new world order. As a beginning Government can ask some of its eminent “internationally known/ recognised” economists to estimate the trillions of dollars of uncounted services provided by housewives (sorry homemakers) in India. Somewhere we need to start.

Views Personal. Extracted from a forthcoming book of the author on “Feminine Economics”

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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.
R Vaidyanathan
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  1. Nice perspective that Ive always held on at the core. First, the west makes you feel inadequate as a woman and then then offers “equal” rights on the turf of men to compete in. Only in inadequacy does one feel that one has to compete with the masculine. The domain of women is different than that of men. A homemaker’s contribution to society (it is mainly intangible but v valuable). I can confidently say that my family’s well being and therefore contribution to GDP depends completely on me. I am the teacher, the care taker, the psychiatrist, the counselor, the Emergency care giver, the coach, the motivator, the manager, the agent, the cheer leader for my family – Now put a price on these services; Not to mention that I am a Wharton MBA (UPENN) and a master’s degree holder in Mechanical Engineering from US universities -:)


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