In honour of International Women's Day, I ask you to consider the value of women's work
Tara Hunt writes a guest post today at the NFBs blog about the documentary Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies, and Global Economics:
Marilyn Waring is a powerhouse of a human being. Born and raised in New Zealand, she has dedicated most of her life to addressing the inequalities in what we value in the world, in an attempt to have women’s work (often unpaid) considered a societal contribution that is as valuable, if not more valuable, than much of the paid work that contributes to the GDP.
In 1988, she published (also published under ), a sharp assessment of what we do and don’t value by only calculating paid work into the GDP. She raises many of the same examples used in the NFB Film, such as oil spills, drug trade (through money moving around, policing and incarceration) and war as contributing to the GDP, while child rearing, housework and taking care of one’s aging family members are not.
As Marilyn explains, what we measure matters. When driving towards specific goals in, say, increasing the GDP to show growth, policies change to encourage economic growth, but remove costs in social growth. For example, a country wanting to increase the GDP may remove or reduce fines on companies that commit environmental damage in order to raise that company’s yearly earnings and shift the burden onto the education system, an ostensible drain on the economy.