The value of the homemaker and why she should be involved in the national accounts

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.

Abstract

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.

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Increasing female representation in politics: A top down approach to gender issues across Australia

Kyle attended the 2017 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 61st session representing the University of South Australia. Kyle is studying a Bachelor of Arts - International Relations with a Bachelor in Social Work.

Abstract

While roughly 50% of the Australian population is made up of women, the number of women in Australian politics is significantly less. Not only does a government comprising mostly of men not accurately represent the Australian community, it also runs the risk of not putting forward issues that matter to women. Furthermore, women approach issues in a different way to men, providing different perspectives based on their values, concerns and experiences, which ultimately provides a new insight on current issues (UN Women, 1995. p. 120). Therefore, it is imperative to have the input of both men and women in Australian parliament. This fact is summarised succinctly and clearly by the Youth for Technology Foundation (2013), who states “no government can claim to be democratic until women are guaranteed the right to equal representation”.

Former Prime Minister John Howard recently stated at the National Press Club in Canberra that gender equality in Parliament is unrealistic due to the fact that women are often hindered in the pursuit of a political career because of family and caring responsibilities (McIlroy, 2016). While family responsibilities may be a key reason as to why women are less likely to pursue a career, political or otherwise, this should be seen as an obstacle that needs to be overcome, not an inherent aspect of life that cannot be altered. Three recommendations will be put forward in this paper as a means of overcoming such obstacles, in order to ensure that women are in a position to run for political office.

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Achieving SDG 5: Empowering Women for a Sustainable Future in the Textiles Industry

By Chau Nguyen

Chau represented Swinburne University of Technology at the ECOSOC High-level Political Forum in New York.

Abstract

Women are integral to the economic, social and environmental progress of developing countries and the future of the world. However many face huge disadvantages due to gender inequality and social marginalisation. Nowhere are these problems more readily apparent than in the textiles industry.

Women in textiles manufacturing are excluded from many opportunities which could potentially improve their well-being and livelihoods. Gender equality is a United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and in this paper I will discuss why empowering these women will not only benefit their livelihoods but also promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion industry.

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