Women’s unpaid work equivalent to 10.75pc of GDP

The total unpaid domestic work carried out by women in Bangladesh is equivalent to 10.75 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, Unnayan Onneshan, an independent multidisciplinary think-tank, revealed.

Unnayan-OnneshanThe organisation found this in their nation-wide survey based estimate of women domestic work in Bangladesh, first of its kind in the country and released in connection with the International Women’s Day, reports UNB.

They revealed that the total unpaid work per year might be equivalent to Tk 1115914.8 million or USD 14.45 billion. The total GDP of the country was Tk 1037990 crore in the FY 2012-13.

The leading research organisation estimates that the total engagement of women domestic work in Bangladesh might be equivalent to 9.3 million full-employment per year.

The Unnayan Onneshan (UO) conducted the country-wide survey in seven districts of seven administrative divisions and the number of households from each district was selected using Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) method.

A total of 520 women, comprising 202 from rural and 318 from urban areas, were chosen randomly and interviewed for the purpose of this pioneering research.

The Unnayan Onneshan observes that the economic value of unpaid domestic work by women would have been much higher if the wages of women in Bangladesh were not comparatively low and the wage deferential between men and women was not so high.

“The percentage of the value of unpaid work in the share of GDP in Bangladesh remains low as compared to other countries due to the lower wage structure in different occupations in Bangladesh,” adds the report.

The survey finds that women who are employed in different types of professional services spend on an average 3.69, 5.2, 4.8, and 4.3 hours per day respectively for household work. “Structural rigidities and traditional patriarchal institutional structure are mostly responsible for the reproduction of the current practices,” adds the organisation.

For addressing the issue of unpaid work in Bangladesh, the Unnayan Onneshan calls for recognition of the embedded institutional rigidities that reproduces the system, formulate comprehensive social policy and institute holistic social security system.

“Unless and until such realities are recognised and responded with appropriate policies, institutional structures and monetary instruments, it will be impossible for achieving real equality in the society,” it said.