Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

“The Unpaid Work Discourse from a Feminist Lens: Reflections on Power, Politics and Policy from the Global South” Subhalakshmi Nandi & Ajita Vidyarthi.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "“The Unpaid Work Discourse from a Feminist Lens: Reflections on Power, Politics and Policy from the Global South” Subhalakshmi Nandi & Ajita Vidyarthi."— Presentation transcript:

1 “The Unpaid Work Discourse from a Feminist Lens: Reflections on Power, Politics and Policy from the Global South” Subhalakshmi Nandi & Ajita Vidyarthi September 2014

2 Structure of the Presentation 1.Locating ourselves 2.Tracing the discourse, tensions, and policy responses for addressing women’s unpaid work 3.Some suggestions for the way forward

3 Location… Not economists Practitioners’ perspective Multi-disciplinary approach Focus is on women’s rights and the politics of their work, labour and bodies Discursive paper grounded in feminist analysis Opportunity for reflecting on the tensions

4 Unpaid Work Discussions Unpaid care work: – Labour/workers’ rights linked to advocacy on: Maternity and paternity rights Child rights emphasis – early childhood care and development Rights of emerging categories of ‘care workers’ – domestic workers, health and care programme workers – Feminist analysis – Care as a public good Beyond care  women’s right to livelihoods, decent work and universal social protection

5 Unpaid work in SNA, non-SNA framework Unpaid work as a barrier to participation in productive labour markets Unpaid work as a patriarchal macroeconomic construct Feminist analysis of work, labour and bodies, and the institutions of patriarchy that operate to control and oppress them

6 Key Features of Unpaid Work as a Patriarchal Macroeconomic Construct Growing informalisation and invisibilisation of women’s work; privilege self-employment versus paid employment Reliance on their unpaid work in capitalist modes of production – home, market, government Confine women to the ‘domestic’ and ‘private’ domains, focus on centrality of: – The ‘public-private’ divide – Of ‘marriage’ and the heteronormative family unit Increase in vulnerable forms of employment for women Focus on commodification, ‘valuation’ and consumption Penalise all those who do not comply with furthering the dominant work norms and labour relations

7 Unpaid Work as we have understood it, is therefore about… – The ‘private’ and the ‘public’ – Active labour markets as well as households – ‘Productive’, ‘reproductive’ and ‘community’ work – Remunerated and non-remunerated work – Linked to the political economy of violence

8 ‘Private’‘Public’ Remunerated work Non- remunerated work

9 POLITICS guiding the POLICY and DISCOURSE on women’s unpaid work has given rise to several points of contestation and debate…

10 Sites of Contestation (1): Definition Definitions of work and worker – Particular problems in identifying, recognising and ascribing value to the work done by women within homes, farms, livelihoods, etc.  lack of women’s economic identity as workers, farmers, producers, and unpaid work therein – Default emphasis on ‘care’ and ‘housework’, and not other forms of unpaid work – Blurred lines between the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ (e.g. domestic work) – Complex issue of sex work and surrogacy – sexual and reproductive labour as ‘work’ within informal labour markets?

11 Definition of the ‘family’ and ‘community’ with related labour relations: – Family as a heteronormative unit – ‘Marriage equality’ versus ‘economic equality’ (queer politics) – Caste system in India

12 Sites of Contestation (2): Location Standpoint debates emerging from locational differences in: – Disciplinary orientation to research and practice – Cultures (e.g. housework as resistance) – North-south divide, characterised mainly by work and employment systems that are primarily formal versus informal, respectively – Political ideology: labour rights versus child rights versus women’s rights (e.g. maternity discourse)

13 Sites of Contestation (3): Practical and Strategic Gender Interests in Policy Responses ‘Valuation’ the most effective response or struggle for universal social protection, essential services and infrastructure? Unit of analysis and policy: individual/collective identity based or family/household mediated? Class struggle for food, work and child-care support, or added feminist struggle for structural transformation (e.g. of child-care leave; microcredit groups and self-employment – instrumentalising women’s labour??) Labour rights more important or ending gender- based violence?

14 Reflections from a Feminist Lens Work, labour and bodily integrity are closely linked to each other The only resource that women have, particularly poor women, is their time, labour and bodies, which: – Shapes ‘choices’ for work and employment, and – Lends itself to ‘instrumentalisation’ within the neo-liberal paradigm Political ideologies, their language and concepts create hierarchies and tensions: – Impacts organising – Affects solidarity – Helps institutions of patriarchy get stronger

15 Possible Future Directions Understand the complex links between work, labour and bodies, and how it plays out in paid and unpaid work; liked to political economy of violence Strengthen scholarship on unpaid work as a macroeconomic construct that upholds patriarchy and the neo-liberal agenda Labour, feminist and queer theories and movements to come more closely together in understanding and addressing women’s unpaid work

16 Resist instrumentalist policy responses for women’s unpaid work (e.g. through mapping opportunity cost) Resist binaries in theorising, as well as in on- ground organising on work, labour and bodily integrity Be strategic yet wary in using the market language of ‘paid’ and ‘unpaid’  subversion Move the unpaid work discourse beyond the domain of care alone

17 “What is required for a feminist politics is not a situated identity politics, whether of gender and/or race and/or class, but an affinity politics based on alliances and coalitions…” (Haraway 1985)

Download ppt "“The Unpaid Work Discourse from a Feminist Lens: Reflections on Power, Politics and Policy from the Global South” Subhalakshmi Nandi & Ajita Vidyarthi."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google