Institutionalizing Household Work: A Road to Homologate Household Employment

  • Vidhusha G V and Mohana G V
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  • Vidhusha G V

    Assistant Professor at Dr. M.G.R. Educational And Research Institute, India

  • Mohana G V

    Assistant Professor at School of Excellence in Law, TNDALU, India

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A study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2018 shows that, worldwide, women undertake 76.2% of total hours of unpaid care work, more than three times as much as men. In Asia and the Pacific, this figure rises to 80%. The International Wages for Housework Campaign started in Italy in 1972 as a feminist movement that highlighted the role of gendered labour in the home and its relevance to the production of surplus value under the reign of capitalism. The movement further spread to Britain and America. Alongside other demands for social and political equality, women’s rights campaigners made visible and also politicised women’s everyday experience of housework and child care in the ‘private’ realm of the household. Housework demands effort and sacrifice, 365 days a year, 24/7, despite this, a huge proportion of Indian women aren’t “queens” reigning over their kingdom, the family. A large number of women live with domestic violence and cruelty because they are economically dependent on others, mainly their husbands. Every day, an average Indian male spends 1.5 hours per day in unpaid domestic work, compared to about five hours by a female. Despite a legal provision, equal inheritance rights continue to be elusive for a majority of women. More than creating a new provision of salary for housework, we need to strengthen awareness, implementation and utilisation of other existing provisions. Starting from the right to reside in the marital home, to streedhan and meher, to coparcenary and inheritance rights as daughters and to basic services, free legal aid and maintenance in instances of violence and divorce. Women should be helped to reach their full potential through quality education, access and opportunities of work, gender-sensitive and harassment-free workplaces and attitudinal and behaviour change within families to make household chores more participative. Turning to domestic chores, everywhere in the world, the burden falls disproportionately on women, regardless of whether they are “housewives” or not. The enormous weight of endless and repetitive housework leads women to either drop out of paid employment altogether (or temporarily), or to seek part-time work. Women who manage to re-enter paid employment after a childcare break typically enter as juniors of, and earn less than, men comparable to them in age, education and qualifications. In other words, collectively, as a society we want children, for which mothers pay a penalty, but not fathers. Feminists have highlighted the sexual division of “reproductive labour”, where women disproportionately bear the load of domestic chores, care and nurturing responsibilities, which eases male participation in “productive labour” and allows the productive economy to continue running smoothly. A typical picture of a standard early 20th century family, where the man is the breadwinner and the woman the housekeeper and caregiver


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 5, Page 1699 - 1711


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