ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Contextualising ‘Wages for Housework’ for Indian Society and Digitalising Economy

.

The feminist demand for wages for housework (WFH) emerged in the 1970s in parts of Europe, the United States, and Canada calling for wage compensation for women for their unpaid reproductive labour. Even though India has conditional and direct cash transfer policies for women now, these do not recognise womens reproductive labour. Therefore, with the idea of wages for housewives appearing in recent election manifestos and political rhetoric, an opportunity to reflect on the scope and applicability of this legislative demand arose.

Silvia Federici, a member of the WFH movement in the 1970s and the intellectual backbone of its subsequent articulations, has theorised this demand by separating reproductive and productive work as in the sexual division of labour framework. Even at the time, societies, where more porous forms of work existed, belied this categorical distinction, and Black feminists noted that the productivereproductive binary did not hold among Black women whose labour was historically diverted towards both production and reproduction (Hopkins 2017). Federicis (2020) primary subject was the proletarian housewife, whose labour was studied in relation to the reproduction of an industrial society. While several Marxist accounts, including Federicis, warn us against a parochial view of the industrial working class, how the WFH demand can be conceptualised in India requires careful reflection.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 17th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.