AN INTRODUCTORY ANALYSIS ON UNPAID WORK OF WOMEN
Article published in the HUMAN RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ---VOL-4,ISSUE-1, 2016, 115-121
Article published in the HUMAN RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ---VOL-4,ISSUE-1, 2016, 115-121
AN INTRODUCTORY ANALYSIS ON UNPAID WORK
Dr.Debesh Bhowmik(Retired Principal)
Key Words.Unpaid work, care work,
What is unpaid work
Unpaid work includes all non-remunerated work activities and it is safe to say that it lacks social recognition.According to the United Nations System of National Accounts of 1993,some unpaid work activities are deemed “Economic Work” and other unpaid work activities are classified as “Non-Economic”.Economic work can be stated as,[i] production of fixed assets for household use,such as building a house,[ii] subsistence production work,such as crop production,annual husbandry,forestry,and fishery for own use,[iii] collection of raw materials for income generating activities like crafts and other manufacturing and [iv] activities such as unpaid family work for crop production that reaches the market , as well as animal grazing ,agro processing for sale.The Non-Economic work is defined as ,[i] household maintenance[ii]cleaning[iii] washing [iii] cooking [iv]shopping [v] providing care for infants and children [vi] care for permanently ill or temporarily sick and [vii] all volunteer works for community services.
In Marxian economies, unpaid work, especially women’s housework, is levelled as ‘reproduction’. Neo-classical economics looks at unpaid work essentially as a form of consumption-but still treated as a form of leisure (in case of married women).Economists interested in unpaid work have mostly concentrated on microanalysis of household work. At the macro level, ‘an iceberg view of the economy’ prevails: what is visible is actually only a very small part of what goes on in economy.
The burden of unpaid work and paid work respectively are distributed unequally between men and women. As a result men receive the lion’s share of income and recognition for their economic contribution-while most of women’s work remains unpaid, unrecognised and undervalued. The unequal distribution of unpaid work between women and men is substantially linked to the sex-segregated labour market and the prevailing sex discrimination and domination of men’s values in society at large.(Swiebel,1999).
Measurement of unpaid work.
The value of the unpaid labour can be calculated as ,[i] Output method, [ii] Input method.
Output method tries to measure the results of unpaid production by assigning a price to the quantities of goods and services produced. This method involves the measurement of output by observation of prices and requires data on the quantities of services produced.
Input method is divided into , [a] The opportunity cost method,[b] The market replacement cost method.
Input or Indirect method involve valuing output in terms of cost of inputs and require information about the time spent on household work. The input approaches value household production as the sum of all of its inputs which include labor inputs(time use) and the use of physical capital (the land, dwellings and equipment owned by households).However,the time use survey only provide information on time use and so on, in practice, the valuation method do not take account of value of physical capital used by households in non market production.
The opportunity cost method searches what is the cost of the cost paid work opportunities unavailable to the unwaged worker became of her responsibilities plus the cost of her unwaged work.Or in other words, each hour devoted to domestic activities could have been sold in the labour market in stead.On the other hand, the replacement cost method finds out what would it cost to pay a third person or a replacement to do the work being completed by the unwaged workers. It means that household save money by performing family care work themselves instead of buying similar services on the market or hiring someone to provide them for household. The opportunity cost method has two wings,[i] Specialist approach,[ii] Generalist approach .
Each approach has certain limitations, ie the replacement cost typically assigned to women’s work reflect current market value ,not real value, and so, are quite low. These calculations are a beginning step to understanding the economic value of women’s work with much more work to be done.
The Time use data is used for measurement of valuation of work to estimate the work performed by women also where data have been collected from household survey on a national scale. The total value of unpaid family care work at national level depends on ,[i] the amount of time that each person devotes to this activity,[ii] the number of people who perform it and [iii] the value attributed to each unit of time of this work.
The difficulties of measuring and valuing unpaid work are most widely cited. Conceptually, at least, the battle against the invisibility of women’s work seem largely to have been won .Women’s domestic work is still uncounted.
Presently, Canada is using Nova Scotia GPI (Genuine Progress Index) to measure unpaid work which has 20 components of indices. But GPI is not intended to replace the GDP rather GPI in effect adopts a qualitatively different approach. The GPI assesses the economic value of social and environmental assets by imputing market value to the services provided by the stock of human , social and environmental capital .But this imputation of market values is not an end in itself. It is a temporary measure, necessary only as long as financial structures such as prices , taxes and monetary incentives continue to provide the primary ones for the actual behaviour of businesses, consumers and governments.
GPI can provide a useful tool for communication between the market and nonmarket sectors. It can provide a means to move beyond monetary assessments towards a more inclusive and integrated policy and planning framework.GPI itself should give way to multi dimensional policy analysis across a number of data bases.
Some empirical findings
Human Development Report-1995 asserted that if these unpaid activities were treated as market transaction at the prevailing wages, they would yield huge monetary valuation-a staggering $ 16 trillion or about 70% more than the officially estimated $23 trillion of global output. Of these $16 trillion,$ 11 trillion is the non-monetised, invisible contribution of women. Its study pointed out that a sample of 31 countries study indicated not only that men (53% in developing countries and 51% in industrial countries) but also that of women’s total work time – both in developing and in industrial countries, roughly two third is spent in unpaid work and one third in paid work. For men in industrial countries these shares are reversed .Men in developing countries spend even less of their total work time in unpaid work roughly one fourth. Women continue to do more than half of the unpaid household in most industrialised countries and between two and four times more unpaid childcare than men. Between 1980-2000,across the developed world women doubled their share of paid work with respect to men ,going from 22 to 44 percent of total paid work. However, the share of women’s time in unpaid labour hardly changed during the time period. It is estimated that if women’s unpaid work were assigned a monetary value it would constitute between 10% and 39% of GDP. Other studies show that reducing the household time burdens on women could increase agricultural labour productivity by as much as 44% in some countries.
The total yearly value of unpaid family care work equals to 8.29 and 67.06 billion Euros which corresponds to 4.3% and 4.5% of GDP in Poland and Italy respectively. In Poland 9.5% of the estimated total value of care may be attributed to child care, whereas in Italy it is 72%. The value of child care is mostly the results of women’s activity, with 5.42 over 7.92 and 35.3 over 52.2 billion Euros in Poland and Italy respectively. According to market replacement cost, the total yearly value of unpaid family care work equals 6.79 and 61.77 billion Euros which corresponds to 3.7% and 4.1% of GDP in Poland and Italy respectively. The total yearly value of unpaid family care work estimated with the specialist market replacement cost equals 8.53 and 75.08 billion Euros, which corresponds to 4.5% and 5% of GDP in Poland and Italy respectively. On the other hand, according to the social cost of unpaid family care work, the value of child care in Poland ranges from a minimum of 3.5% of GDP to a maximum of 4.2% of GDP. The value of child care in Italy ranges from a maximum of 3.2% of GDP to a maximum of 3.8% of GDP. The value of adult care is lower in Poland than in Italy. In Poland, the loss in value of childcare amounts to 0.6% of GDP ( a loss of 17%), whereas in Italy the loss amounts to 0.3% ( a loss of 9%). (Framcacilla, Giannelli, Grotkososka and Socha,2011)
In Spain, the Bank of Spain studied that the majority of women (99.15%) undertaken some household activity versus only 77.63% of the men. The women spend almost 3 times more time in household works than the men, spending 214.95 minutes per day versus only 111.72 minutes per day for men. Women contributing to more than 50% of the household income engage in more than 50% of household production. The share of total house work time for a women is 76% when she earns than that of her husband,71% when she earns the same , and 68% when she earns more. Women devoted less time to household activities as their relative income increases: 229 minutes when they earn less, 204 when they earn the same and 189 when they earn more. However, the men’s household work time increases from 82 to 92 minutes as women’s earnings increases, but decreases again to 87 minutes when women’s earnings increase beyond men’s. On average , women spend around 128 minutes and 143 minutes on household and childcare, whereas men devote 72-82 minutes per day to these activities. Women spend 365 minutes per day with children under 10, whereas men spend , on average,252 minutes per day. Higher income households might be able to outsource more, and thus reduce a wife’s house work burden. Higher the spouces education level, the lower a wife’s share of total housework. The outsourcing of household maintainance service has appositive and statistically significant increasing wife’s share of housework by 8.7%.A husband devotes 28.5 more minutes per day to routine childcare if his wife earns the same amount he does, in relation to husband who earns more than their wives but this positive effect only exists up to the point where a wife earns the same amount as her husband and remains constant beyond that. The U shaped relationship between housework and childcare and relative earnings is also robust to a continuous rather than discrete alternative definition to also robust to a continuous rather than discrete alternative definition of relative earnings. (Sevilla-Sanz,Nadal, and Fernandez,2010)
In Canada, the study examines the profile and time spent on paid and unpaid work for young adults from 3 generations-late baby boomers (born from 1957-1966) when they were age 20-29 in 1986, GenerationX (1969-1978) which was in that age group in 1998 and Generation Y(1981-1990) which reached within 2010.It was found that young adults from generation Y were more likely to be single(67%) ,living at home (51%) and going to school(19%) compared with their counterpart in the two previous generations. Time spent on employment and housework was also most alike for young men and women of generation Y. At ages 20-29,late baby boom men did ,on average , 1.4 hours more paid work per day than women. In generation Y, this difference narrowed to 1.1 hours. When late baby boomers women were age 20-29, they did 1.2 hours more housework per day than men. By the time generation Y was the same age ,the difference had narrowed to 0.4hours.Average daily, time spent on paid work and housework by men and women in young dual-earner couples in more alike for those without children and particularly so for generation Y. (Katherine,2011)