Women’s Contribution to Economic Growth

Introduction

The issue of division of labor in the household remains one of the most controversial in recent times. Most cultures of the world recognize the primary responsibility of the wife as being that of taking care of the home and the children as the husband leaves for work. Women are considered the weaker gender (Hinders par. 3).

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The culture was so strong that all the factors that support the development of a child were deprived of young girls. Eventually, a lot of lobbying had to be done to establish a level ground for the advancement of both the boy and the girl. To date, the struggle is still on as in many nations, there are still some significant remnants of this form of discrimination on gender.

Body

Under the earlier setting, the wife was supposed to do all the household chores hence the name ‘house wife’. The most important chores include cooking, cleaning, babysitting and other general tasks relating to the household. The modern-day has seen a revolution in the division of labor within the households. Women have taken on new roles in pursuing careers for themselves even as their husbands pursue theirs (Burke & Mattis 124). The now decades-old revolution in women’s status is definitely incomplete and is at times stalled. Housework remains primarily women’s work despite significant changes in employment patterns and attitudes that have favored women. Fairly though, there exists some credible evidence of change in the division of household chores. Findings show that today, husbands are increasingly taking up more household work than in the past.

Of critical importance is the fact that housewives do not receive any direct remuneration for their efforts. The cultural stand is that these roles are part of parenthood and are inherent to any woman. Indeed the rules governing sharing of housework are hinged on the relations of economic support and dependency. A housewife is economically dependent on her husband. He takes care of her and the children. In this scenario, she is totally deprived of any form of engagement in income-generating activities.

The old adage that states that housewives are better at taking care of their children are still held back by many women who would like to take up careers. They are fearful that their children may not grow up in the best environment if they spend a great part of their time at work. In this regard, many women with adequate skills and academic qualifications have forfeited their career development for their families. A significant portion though has had to juggle the roles by taking on their careers and still giving birth and taking care of the children. Another category though has emerged. Some women decide to take up housewife roles early in the marriage and later pursue their careers (Kanchana Par4).

Under this arrangement, the newlywed woman gives birth to the desired number of children early in the marriage. She sees them through the very young stages of life usually up to the school-going age. In the modern-day the number of children is in the range of two to three. After the children are in school, the women start up their careers. The transition period is always a sensitive affair that requires careful handling and management to ensure the family stays stable even as the wife delegates her duties to other assistants in order to undertake the ever-demanding career-related roles. The actual transition process may make or break the career prospects of the woman.

An important economic consideration is that most of the families where the wife is a housewife and remains so for the entire life are generally worse economically than those where the wife works and earns her own income. The basic premise behind this is that, the woman cares more about the status of the household than the man. This being the case, when a woman is able to earn her own money, most of this money is directed towards expenditures like clothing, school fees and food for the children. This undoubtedly improves the children’s welfare. This is unlike the case of a housewife who relies on handouts from the husband and expects the not-so-concerned husband to engage in spending for the welfare of the children (Tips for housewives entering the job market par. 6).

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These considerations are very pertinent to the promotion of women’s education and affirmative actions taken by governments in trying to lift the economic status of women. The world over, governments have endeavored to create opportunities for women. Special programs created to specifically address problems concerning women and support women’s projects are increasingly being given bigger prominence.

The contribution of women in the workforce in nations over the world is very high. They are workers just like men and are capable of doing a lot (Poz 641). In the US, 72 million or about 59.5 percent of the population of women above the age of 16 are working or looking for work. Of the total US workforce, women account for 46.5% of the entire labor force. By the year 2016 the projections are to rise to about 47%. In the year 2006 the US had over 68 million women in some form of employment. This included about 25% working in part-time jobs while the rest 75% were in full-time jobs. An analysis of the various fields in which the women were employed showed the following. About 33% worked as salespersons and other related office practices, 6% were in transportation, 21% worked in the services sector. Also, a whopping 39% were in professional, management and other similar jobs. About 1% worked in construction, maintenance, mining and other related occupations (Gender & Economics Par 5).

As can be seen, the value of women’s contributions towards growth and development is immense. In this regard transforming their thinking towards adopting a working culture is of great importance for any country. Labor is well known as one of the most critical factors of production. This being the case the utilization of women workforce is very helpful in optimizing the production of output in the country (Hinders par. 3). It is however notable that employment of women is often seen by employers as being more costly than employment of men. The main basis of these assertions is that women will frequently require leaves especially based on maternity. The fact that they have to be away for a specified period of time puts off employers. The discrimination can only increase. Again, being the woman is always considered the manager of the home and the first person responsible for the home. Any instances happening at home always call for her attention. In this case, the absenteeism rate is always considered higher than that of men. Considering this, the preference for men also increases (Jacobsen Par3).

Specific measures taken by the government to encourage women to take up careers are numerous. Specific laws are often passed to ensure the woman is more comfortable at the workplace. The most common areas of legislation regard maternity leaves. It is statutory that any expectant woman leaves work for a specified minimum period of time when the delivery time nears (Blackmon 6). Again some nations have legislated to determine the minimum proportion of workers who have to be women. A combination of all those and other measures has encouraged millions of women to get back to their career paths even after taking time to take care of family matters.

The transition to the other side of the world in terms of the introduction into the working culture is very significant for any woman. It comes with numerous extra responsibilities. Apart from the domestic responsibilities which only increase mainly due to the introduction of extra schedules mainly relating to taking children to school and the hiring of house servants to take care of the household chores, the new worker has to take up new roles that come up with the new job (Farrar and Vogel par. 3). Secretaries have to handle all the information coming in and out of the allocated office, accountants have to balance the balance sheet, and sales personnel have to beat deadlines as stipulated in the contract.

Adapting to these new roles is never an easy task. Many of those who attempt to find themselves unable to cope with the demands that face them. The kids have to be taken to school in time; the boss insists that the set deadline is final; the husband insists that the wife has to select the clothes for him to wear and so on (How to Join the Happy Housewives Club Par 5).

Of critical importance in the success of the career woman is the ability to plan herself well in terms of time and activities to be done. Any woman in a career needs to engage in better planning than the man. However the choice of the career should be made wisely. A career that achieves some of the standards discussed above would give less strain to the career woman. She should be as comfortable as possible or at least be fully knowledgeable about the job she takes up. Again, the job should be flexible and accommodative to women.

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Employers have a very important role in harnessing the ability of women to engage in high productivity at the workplace and at the same time be attracted to the workplace. The first and very innovative proposal is job sharing. Job sharing refers to the alternative work schedules. Under the system, more than one employee is hired for the same post (Schmitt par. 4).

Each of the hired employees is allocated duties in terms of days or weeks. In this case, when one of the employees is at work, the other is at home. This way it is possible to have each of the employees work for three days in a week as opposed to the normal one week. Through such provisions, mothers willing to work can find employment that is very flexible and allows enough time to take care of the children. Of course, the two employees should share the salary, but the system is very effective in taking advantage of those with extra responsibilities (Gender & Economics Par 3).

The second idea applicable by the employers is the use of technology such as telecommuting. Such facilities allow people to work from home (CV Tips par. 3). This not only cuts on time lost during travel but also enhances relationships between working parents and their children. Professions that do not require direct contact can be comfortably practiced from home and still reach the highest standards.

Still flexible hours should be used with the allowance to choose convenient start and stop times in advance (Sanz par. 6). This is especially very applicable in non-core businesses. By allowing women to choose the most convenient hours in which they wish to work, one would be greatly encouraging the participation of women. The wives find it easier to work and still take care of their families at their convenience.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the employer is the allowance of interruptions both paid and unpaid meant for child care. Employers should accommodate prearranged leaves in order to increase the rate of hiring of women (Jacobsen 89). Employers who take care of their employee’s family affairs are bound to gain a lot from committed workers.

Conclusion

Considering the intricate process of transition of housewives to career women, utmost support should be offered to these women. The contribution of women to economic growth and development is immense. Proper considerations should be done both by the housewives and their husbands before engaging in career duties. Indeed, many governments have enacted numerous measures to ensure that more women change from being housewives to being career women.

The participation of women in the economy is widespread across the entire sector of the economies. With these assertions in consideration, the ability of women is almost just as good as that of men. Therefore more efforts should be placed at supporting women to take up careers instead of allowing talented women to just stare as life passes them.

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Works Cited

Burke, Ronald, and Mattis, Mary. Supporting women’s career advancement: challenges and opportunities. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Edgar Publishing, 2005.

Blackmon, Pamela. “Factoring Gender into Economic Development: The Policies of the World Bank and the IMF”. 2009. Web.

CV Tips. “Tips for house wives entering the job market”. 2009. Web.

Farrar, Martha, and Vogel, Fred. “Women’s Contributions to the Workforce: Are New Measures Needed?”. Web.

Gender & Economics. World Bank. Web.

Hinders, Dana. “The division of household labor”. 2005. Web.

How to Join the Happy Housewives Club. E-How. 2009. Web.

Jacobsen, J. The Economics of Gender. (3rd Edition). London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007.

Kanchana B. Young housewives, re-launch a successful career! 2009. Web.

Poz, M. Understanding women & apos;s contribution to the health workforce The Lancet, 371.9613(2009): 641-642.

Sanz, Almudena. “Division of Household Labor and Cross-Country Differences in Household Formation Rates”. 2007. Web.

Schmitt, Liz. The Economics of Gender. 2004. Web.

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