Invisible subsidies: women’s undervalued contribution to the economy

DILENI GUNEWARDENA

(It) “takes the work of many people to get the egg from the hen to its consumer” ( Weaver, Rock & Kunsterer, 1997)

Gaya’s intro: I am delighted to include a good-read from a member of the Peradeniya University Faculty. I welcome Dileni’s writings in her plain English style which is easy to read and understand for the non academic readers. iSrilankan would love to feature diverse, informed and insightful writings from independent writers on issues facing women, men and children in Sri Lankan society today.

The idea that women subsidize men by their unpaid work has been around for a long time. Women’s unpaid work includes such work as growing crops in a home garden, helping out at the family “boutique” or kade, or similar unpaid work in a family enterprise. But, what about the housework and child-rearing that women typically do? This work, too has been long recognized by social scientists as unpaid work.

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