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In the last few decades women across the world have stormed almost every profession with élan, but it has led to a double burden on women, especially in conventional societies like India where women’s work in homes and families is still almost invisible.
The traditional Indian concept of a household largely persists and presumes that certain jobs within the household are to be performed only by women – housekeeping, child and elderly care, cooking, cleaning are all considered to be a woman’s responsibility by default. In addition there is also the expectation of emotional labour required for holding families together, resolving every day conflicts and sustaining patriarchal status quo within families.
Oxfam which is an international confederation of 20 NGOs working with partners in over 90 countries to end the injustices that cause poverty, has recently asserted that – “inequality has a “female face” in India, where women are less likely to have paid work when compared to men.”
Unpaid work done by women across the globe amounts to a staggering $10 trillion a year, which is 43 times the annual turnover of the world’s biggest company Apple, an Oxfam study said.
The report, released before the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, also stated that women and girls are hardest hit by rising economic inequality, including in India.
Some glaring India specific facts it stated are:
Oxfam said that India’s deeply patriarchal society and other intersections of caste, class, religion, age and sexual orientation have further implications on women inequality as a process.
The unpaid value of housework and childcare is clearly not evident to most people. Maybe it’s time for homemakers to start pointing people to this $10 trillion figure the next time anyone asks them what they do all day!
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Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.
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