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Value of housework

There have been some attempts in the United States, Europe, and Australia over the past few decades to encourage governments to pay people for the housework they do. A U.S. organization called the Wages for Housework Campaign argued for many years that housework was boring and degrading because it was unpaid, and that payment would improve the status of women in society overall. More recently they have argued for housewives to be included in the labor force and for unpaid housework to be included in calculations of a nation's wealth, for example, the gross national product (GNP). They have argued that this would make housework more visible, and could possibly lead to greater investment in programs to help women.

So far, no government has seriously considered paying people for housework. This is not surprising when you consider how difficult it would be to implement such a scheme. The first problem would be to determine how much people would be paid. In 1995 the United Nations estimated the annual value of women's unpaid work at $11 trillion worldwide. An Australian government study in 1991 calculated that if someone was to be paid to do all the housework in one home it would be worth 400 Australian dollars a week (equivalent to about 250 U.S. dollars at that time). However, there would be more problems to "iron out." Would everyone get the same amount? Which tasks would and would not be paid for? How would the government know if the work was done?



Role overload | Other consequences of being a woman

RECENT CHANGES IN THE WORLD OF WORK | HELP WANTED | THE CHANGING WORKPLACE | The Changing Workplace | MEN VS WOMEN | GENDER STEREOTYPES AT WORK | INEQUALITY AT WORK | INEQUALITY AT WORK | LISTENING | BALANCING HOME AND WORK |

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