Unpaid Labour: The job that we fail to recognise

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We usually talk about labour right, human right etc. But there is a section that has been long ignored. Neither the family nor the government has mercy on them.

Their work is not recognized as work by economists and even others, yet they spend more time on that job than a salaried worker would do. No, they don’t receive any salary or job appreciation letter. They do not get outstanding on their service book. Perhaps the work which is easily available or done before asking loses credibility.

Still, you can’t figure it out? It is about them who contributes to maintaining the family.

What is Unpaid Work? How many are involved?

It is about them who puts 352 minutes in a day into the domestic work than men who put in only 51.8. This is too little to be recorded by the policymakers where 49 % of women of a country of 1.3 billion people involved in such a task where there is no leave, no Sunday, no salary, no appraisal. Thus leaving them very vulnerable.

Based on the UN System of national accounts work is divided among these four categories:

A. Unremunerated activities resulting in the production of goods and services for the market or subsistence (work carried out by family helpers on the family farm or enterprise, for instance).

B. Processing of agricultural products for self-consumption (milling of flour,preservation of fruits and vegetables, weaving etc).

C. Activities such as collection of free goods such as water, fuel, and fodder forconsumption and production; and

D. Unpaid production of services that go into the maintenance and care of households, hereafter, unpaid care work. Unpaid care work consists of three components: i) household maintenance including cooking, cleaning, shopping; ii) care of persons of own household such as looking after children, elderly, sick, disabled or simply other adults requiring care; and iii) voluntary services or services rendered free to other households or the community.

Among these group, D is not recognized as work.  But young girls are taught all these tasks as life skills because she has to one day take care of everybody where she will find no mercy.

What normalises Unpaid Work?

Moreover, it is normalized in the serials where joint family tradition is being pushed. No matter how romantic it looks that men are all talking and clubbing together and women of the house are preparing food for all in the Kitchen.

Serials are giving perfect training that how a bahu should be. She must adhere to what the practice which was carried by her mother without questioning why? Why is she enslaved? Where are the rules written?

I have a great disgust for the society where women are expected to fulfil each and everyone’s expectation. But when she looks around no one is there around her.  Everyone is looking for her, waiting for her to do all the household work. Parents give advice to their daughter that how she should train her mind to not look at her needs. Instead, she should work like a machine

Women participation is going low and why would a woman need employment? Just get marry and you will be employed.  In that job there is no reward, that is a thankless job. Does a slave have the right to ask for her rights? It is how it is going it is normal.

Is there any way out?

Is there no way that the workload can be divided or the compensation can be given? Yes, there are :

First, we all need to acknowledge the household work as work. 

Celebrities must have come forward to speak about the unpaid work and it should be promoted that every member must do their respective household work.  Girls and boys should be equally trained and the stigma must be removed.

 We must take few examples such as in Scandinavian countries. Father get paternal leave, along with mother so that they can help each other.

In serial, men should be shown cooking food or doing household work. Moreover, the husband helping her wife should be promoted. The serial reaches every household and thus it will serve as a great help in changing the mindset.

Marriage had contributed to jeopardise the career of women. As they have to single-handedly take the burden of house and job, this makes them quit their job. There are many women who lost their jobs after marriage. Thus social security should be given to all women.

We are not able to return what she is contributing to us. But all of us if we simply acknowledge her sacrifice, then I think it will bring a great change.

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/economy/unpaid-work-women-and-the-burden-of-unpaid-labour-63035

https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/csw61/redistribute-unpaid-work

https://scroll.in/latest/974526/nearly-80-of-indian-women-participated-in-unpaid-domestic-work-in-2019-shows-nso-study#:~:text=A%20National%20Statistical%20Office%20survey,for%20household%20members%20in%202019.&text=The%20participation%20rate%20in%20unpaid,of%20urban%20women%20was%2081.7%25.

https://asiapacific.unwomen.org/-/media/field%20office%20eseasia/docs/publications/2019/04/in-invisible-work-and-invisible-workers-compressed.pdf?la=en&vs=1549

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