India, it’s time you value the “housewives”, because now the world does too
Post By Sakshi Shukla on 28-June-2015
Go back in time a little, picturize the very first time you fell ill. What’s the most prominent feature that you can recall? Yes! It’s your mother. The way we casually fill out forms stating our mother’s occupation as “housewife” is in strong contrast to the altruistic toil they put in not only their household chores but more significantly in the healthcare of children,sick,disabled,and elderly family members. In a first financial valuation of this work, largely unsalaried and camouflaged, a team of healthcare professionals has worked out that it is worth $38 billion or Rs.1.75 lakh crores in India.
This sum, calculated on a per year basis, is equivalent to 2.2% of the GDP of 2010 which is the base year used.Globally, the study found that women’s contribution to healthcare was over $3 trillion, which in turn is 2.35% of global GDP for gratuitous work and 2.47% of GDP for paid or mercenary work.
The study was conducted by the Lancet Commission on Women and Health, set up by the medical journal ‘Lancet’ and published as well recently. The Commission, led by Ana Langer, Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, studied 32 countries including India, China, several European countries and some from Africa and America. These countries together have 52% of the world’s population.India, at $38 billion, stays ahead of countries like Pakistan, UK, France, Canada and Norway.
In a traditional setup like ours, mercenary health care work is dominated by women, except among doctors. At the household level too, it’s the women who’re responsible for tending to the ailments of everyone-sick, disabled or elderly. This work is unpaid and not accounted for in large economic calculations like the GDP although it holds its own significance if observed closely from a commecial perspective.