We tend to marvel at the amplitude of GDP upon its release. For most of the common people, the number is simply a comparison index for an after-dinner conversation. Most apparently, the output of our complex industries contributes largely to the GDP. Yet if we shift the perspective from what we’ve collected to what we’ve ignored, we seem to have overlooked a great amount of “output”. In A Proper Reckoning featured in The Economist, unpaid work done by women is regarded as the demonstration of sexism in the current economy.
On one hand, parental work and chores done by housewives are never weighed the same as those done by hired maids. Many women spend most of their post-marital time taking care of the children who will sooner or later grow up to be the next generation of major GDP contributors. Their achievements in common households are just as important as those engendered from high-tech laboratories and multi-billion skyscrapers. Recent economic researchers point out that GDP reduces after women marry. We often say that mothers are the first teachers that kids learn from, but the underlying fact is that mothers are obliged to look after the family.
From the feminist perspective, not taking account of unpaid work is a drive toward economic inequality as most unpaid work is fulfilled by females. Some argue that it is both cumbersome and ineffective to measure unpaid work on a quantitative scale. Yet it is bad economics if we simply misrepresent the nation’s intangible asset.
Elinor Ostrom(1933-2012), co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009, the only woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Economoics
I wonder if women are reluctant to enter the field of economics just as they generally refuse to enter the workforce shortly after the end of World War 2. Even nowadays we still find more females in preschools and elementary schools and more males among college professors, entrepreneurs, and Nobel Prize laureates. Surely much more women enter STEM fields than a century ago, but societal trend continually reveals that more women take on nurturing and teaching jobs than economists. Perhaps it is the long-lasting mindset that men interpret and stimulate the economy; perhaps it is the masculine obsession with monetary control. “Despite the strides that Lisa and countless other have made, female founders are still fighting the perception that they’re less capable and less committed that their male counterparts according to the Center for an Urban Future report.” Distressingly, many women are inclined to accept that.
History has already refuted numerous discriminates against women. It is beyond reasonable to believe that we will see some changes in the following years.
“A Proper Reckoning.” The Economist. March 12th 2016 Print Edition. 13 Mar. 2016. <http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21694529-feminist-economics-deserves-recognition-distinct-branch-discipline/>.