What is Women’s Work? Valuing contributions to family #womenswork #domesticwork

Invisibility of Women’s Work

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All women work and engage in multiple economic
activities significant for their households and
national economy. They are involved in a spectrum of
work which includes care giving to children, elderly,
sick; domestic work such as cooking, cleaning, water
and fuel collection; and also in subsistence work for the
family farm and enterprises. As primary agents in the
livelihood activities, they invest huge part of their time
and energy for providing nutrition and food security
to their households. However, these vital contributions
women make in household sector, farming, animal
husbandry, etc. are highly undervalued, unrecognised
and regarded as not economically significant. Statistics
ignore the magnitude of ‘work’ undertaken by women
right from their very young age. Mainstream economics
does not recognise them because neither labour or
product or services rendered by women are exchanged
in the market. By not acknowledging women’s work,
a partial picture of the work done in the economy is
presented which doesn’t recognise women’s contribution
in securing food security and also to the national
economy of all countries.

The feminist and human rights approaches discussed in this paper advocate a radical rethinking of work that begins with women’s experience of work in their lives. The paper calls upon the need for identification of assumptions and values that are not respectful or sensitive to women’s experience and needs of work, the examination of gender biases and inequalities that are present in institutions, structures, and actors that are critical to the operationalisation and achievement of rights, the dismantling of the apparatus that supports the gender unequal/discriminatory operationalisation of the rights including policies, institutions, systems and structures and practices that propagate these inequality. It brings to the fore critical issues that need to be addressed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in order for the achievement of substantive equality and realisation of women’s right to work and their right to just and favourable conditions of work.
Written by: Radhika Desai
Number of Pages: 38 http://www.pwescr.org/Women_Work_Counts_Feminist_Arguments_for_Human_Rights_at_Work-Radhik.pdf

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