Government official says recognition may come via Eighth Five-Year Plan, if a proper standard for evaluation is found
Speakers at a webinar have said lack of a recognised standard is the reason behind not evaluating unpaid care work or domestic work.
Although it is not difficult to discuss women's domestic work, there is no recognised standard to evaluate it. If an evaluation method is found it may be included in the Eighth Five-Year Plan, said Dr Shamsul Alam, member of the Planning Commission.
He made the remark at the webinar titled "Eighth Five Year Plan: Recognition of Unpaid Care Work", jointly organised by bdnews24.com and ActionAid Bangladesh on Tuesday, said a media statement.
Dr Shamsul said: “A large part of the society is engaged in domestic work. The prime minister once questioned how it is still not evaluated. She is aware of the matter.”
“We have not come up with a recognised system yet to evaluate unpaid care work. If we and the UN agree in principle, then it can be evaluated,” he said.
"We calculate GDP through the National Income Account, which is followed all over the world. There is no opportunity to include anything other than a product exchanged through the market in the GDP. We need to find a system to evaluate unpaid care work,” Dr Shamsul added.
Highlighting a 2014 study by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), the organization’s Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun said: “The time that women spend on household chores is worth 2.5 times the work done outside.”
ActionAid International South Asia Advocacy Co-ordinator Helal Uddin presented a survey of men and women in Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, and Dinajpur at the webinar.
According to the survey, in 2016, women spent 7.78 hours doing household chores as opposed to men spending 1.1 hours. The difference between men’s and women’s unpaid care work was at 3.43 hours in 2019, which was 3.75 hours in 2018, and 5.19 hours in 2017.
Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, urged the media to campaign for the evaluation of women's household chores.
Prof Geeti Ara Nasrin of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Dhaka University, human rights activist Khushi Kabir, and actress and teacher Tropa Majumder also participated in the webinar.
Laiju Begum from Lalmonirhat and Lucky Begum from Gaibandha were also present as project partners.