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Unpaid Work Done By Women Amounts To 43 Times The Annual Turnover Of Apple: Oxfam Study

  • IWB Post
  •  September 16, 2019

According to an Oxfam Study, released by the international rights group before the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in the Swiss ski resort town, women and girls are the hardest hit by rising economic inequality world over, including India.

The reports said that the unpaid work done by women across the globe amounts to be a staggering USD 10 trillion a year which is 43 times the annual turnover of the world’s biggest company Apple.

As per the statistics, Indian women spend about 312 minutes per day in urban areas and 291 minutes per day in rural areas on unpaid care work which constitutes of a 3.1 percent of the country’s GDP. In comparison, men spend only 29 minutes in urban and 32 minutes in rural areas on unpaid care work.

The report also quoted that inequality has a “female face” in India, where women are less likely to have paid work as compared to men, while even among the richest there are only 9 women in the country’s 119-member billionaires club.

Talking about the wage gap, the reports pointed out that for paid work women bring fewer earnings as compared to men and therefore households that rely primarily on female earners tend to be poorer. In regards to the inequality faced by women, the report observed that various intersections of caste, class, religion, age and sexual orientation have its implications as a process and another factor contributing to this condition of women is the deeply ingrained patriarchal mindset.

On the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Index of 2018, the Oxfam study also referred to India’s poor 108th ranking, saying it was 10 times less than in 2006 and far below the global average and behind its neighbours China and Bangladesh.

Although India has many laws that deal with violence against women, their implementation remains a challenge. The report said that a law to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace was passed in 2013 after a struggle by women’s rights organisations and group of lawyers for 17 years, however it is the recent #MeToo movement in India that has opened the doors for the organised workforce to ensure that mechanisms are in place and due process is followed.

As a large majority of women are in the informal sector that does not have any formal mechanisms for dealing with sexual harassment, it leads to either women dropping out of the labour force, or they continue to work under exploitative conditions.

“Economic inequality plagued by caste, class, gender, and religion need to be tackled on a war-footing,” said Oxfam India chief Amitabh Behar.

According to a 1,000-household survey in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh, 53 percent of those surveyed said it was acceptable to harshly criticise a woman if she failed to care well for the children and 33 percent felt it was acceptable to even beat a woman for this reason. Similarly, 60 percent felt it was acceptable to harshly criticise a woman if she left a dependent or ill adult unattended and 36 percent felt it was acceptable to beat her for the same reason.

Adding to it, 41 percent even felt that it was acceptable to beat a woman if she did not prepare a meal for the men in the family while 68 percent felt it was acceptable to criticise her harshly. If a woman failed to fetch water or fuelwood for her family 42 percent said she should be beaten and 65 percent felt she deserved to be criticised harshly.

Observing these statistics the report said that what restricts women from undertaking paid work is not just determined by economic considerations but also due to social norms such as the ones mentioned above.

Apart from this the study also said that when public services are neglected, poor women and girls suffer most.

“Girls are pulled out of school first when the money is not available to pay fees, and women clock up hours of unpaid work looking after sick relatives when healthcare systems fail,” it said.

Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, one of the key participants at the WEF summit, said, “While corporations and the super-rich enjoy low tax bills, millions of girls are denied a decent education and women are dying for lack of maternity care.”

Picture for representational purpose only.

H/T: The Hindustan Times 




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