Friday, April 13, 2007

Quote: Unpaid Labour in Canada

The Canada Year Book 2001 reported that in 1998 women spent 15.2 hours on unpaid housework (not counting childcare) per week compared with 8.3 hours for men. Mothers aged 25-44 who were working full-time also spent nearly 35 hours a week at unpaid work.

...

Canada's method of assessing the value of unpaid activities is one of the more conservative approaches, but even that gives a result of the value of unpaid work being one third of Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

What does that mean? If you take a look at the monthly GDP figures for Canada in March 2004, unpaid work [which is disproportionately done by women] was equal to the total production from agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining and oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, and the construction industries utilities -- and at that point it was still $20 million short.

-- Marilyn Waring

6 comments:

Red Jenny said...

*sigh* so true.

I'm tired of hearing how feminists are whiners, how women have it so good, how women are all after men's money, etc... Yes, that's what I've been reading around the 'net today.

Thanks for this.

SR said...

This weekend I was at a conference where one of the speakers had done a study looking at the number of hours per week worked by physicians, and he indicated that while female physicians worked a weekly average of 47 hours in clinics and males 54 hours; but when they included hours worked in unpaid child care and housework, the women were working 104 hours a week compared to the men at 77. No doubt this is at the expense of 'leisure' and sleep hours for women.

Polly said...

This quote is from Waring's "What Men Value and What Women are Worth". In this book she describes the UN's National Systems of Accounts which developed the Gross Domestic Product and, get this, the GDP was actually developed as a way to justify the costs of war (e.g. certain military aspects could be included to be products of the general economy). Anyone who thinks that economics is not a highly normative discipline is nuts.

Scott said...

Hi RJ...you're welcome!

Hi SR...wow...104 hours is a lot...have you ever seen numbers of this sort not for clinicians but for research scientists?

Hi Polly...actually, I found the quote as part of an article by Waring called "Unpaid Workers: The Absence of Rights" published in Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme in 2004, but I think it's all part of the same body of work on her part. That's crazy about the connection between GDP and military expenditures...I hadn't heard that before...

Polly said...

I imagine she just took from her book. Maybe, I'll post something form the book soon...it's under my coffee table. Yeah,maybe, tomorrow. You would love it, but it would also just raise the hairs on your head!!!

Scott said...

I look forward to seeing what you post!