Jessica attended the 2017 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session as a Global Voices National Scholar. She is a reporter for the Australian Financial Review.
Sometimes she’s a cook, sometimes she’s a housekeeper. Heck, these days she’s probably both a chauffeur and a mechanic. Regardless of which way you spin it, a lot of work goes on running a household and in a shocking twist, the Real Housewives of Melbourne has been found to include inaccuracies.
As economists the world over grapple with the task of measuring digital output and confront the genuinely flawed methodology of gross domestic product, I’d like to argue it is a perfect time to begin fulfilling our global obligation to measure the staggering amount of unpaid work that goes on in the homes.
This is crucial, not only so we can develop effective and appropriate childcare, tax and industrial relations policy, but also to empower and acknowledge that the domestic roles of women haven’t changed, regardless of how much workforce participation has improved. Instead of alleviating and spreading the tasks of running a household, which does indeed constitute economic output, we have simply added it to a woman’s full-time workload. And rather than celebrate and appreciate the role of homemakers in our society, we risk depressing and devaluing one of the most valuable contributors.
This paper looks at the current flaws in GDP, using the internet as an example; it then explains how to measure unpaid domestic work and then looks at the widespread benefits of acknowledging this often invisible societal powerhouse.Read More