Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is in reference to the person who exercises control over land and is responsible for utilization of existing resources. According to the FAO, the holder is not the person who does the work on the land, but rather the person who makes the decisions, even if s/he never sets foot on the land. It is the holder who will be interviewed in each census. As the FAO explains, " For example, if the wife of the head of the household omits to weed the maize on a piece of land for which she appears to be taking operational responsibility, the head may instruct her to do so. In such a case it is the head of the household who is the holder " (Waring 1998). Simply put, the UNSNA virtually guarantees, through mandating that most interviews be with men and by excluding most work done by women, that women will be excluded from national measures of wealth. Although the UNSNA was modified in 1993, women's work was still virtually excluded (Waring 2003). Bangladesh is not free from this negative influence. Under the 1961 census, women's work was defined as "productive economic activity". By the 1974 census, that had all changed: women's work was defined as "housewife". This was clearly not because Bangladeshi women suddenly changed their activities, but rather due to a change in definition. In Bangladesh, while crop storage counts as economic activity, food processing does not, despite the lack of any justification for this difference. When men were interviewed in Bangladesh about the work carried out by the women in their households, they responded that "they cook and sew quilts". When women were asked, their answers included raising chickens, growing vegetables, processing rice, and so on. That is, when only men are interviewed in the censusâ€”as is normally the caseâ€”they are likely to understate the extent and value of women's economic contributions (Waring 1998). Islam (2006) cites an estimate of the Bangladesh Home Workers Women Association (BHWA) that the annual contribution of home-based workers to the GDP is about Tk 150 billion (US$2.59 billion*). "But unfortunately, this contribution is not reflected in the government statistics. The BBS [Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics] data shows that the contribution of the industrial sector in GDP in FY 2002-03 was Tk 462.37 billion (US$7.99 billion). Of the amount, the contribution of large-scale industry was Tk 325.58 billion (US$5.62 billion), while small scale contributed Tk 136.80 billion (US$2.36 billion). The statistics show that the contribution of home-based workers is larger than that of the small-scale industry" (Islam 2006). In Canada, the US, New Zealand, and other countries, the issue of women's economic contribution through their unpaid * Using an approximate exchange rate for 2002-03 of 57.90 taka to the US$ (fluctuations in the exchange rate make accuracy difficult).
7 work has been raised by scholars, activists, and others4 . As a result, researchers have devoted some attention to the issue, and investigated the scale and estimated value for women's unpaid work, particularly in the domestic sphere. The United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO) has also recommended that such research and estimations be carried out, a recommendation corroborated by the Government of Bangladesh in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) (see Appendix 1). Yet little effort has yet been made to put these recommendations into practice. UNPAC (UN Platform for Action Committee Manitoba) estimates that the total value of unpaid work, most of which is performed by women, in the global economy is US$11 trillion . Some research has been done on this issue in Bangladesh, particularly by Shamim Hamid (Hamid 1996). Hamid found that the average woman in Bangladesh contributes 4,765 taka (US$133.14*) annually to the economy through her unpaid work, of which 3% is from subsistence production and the remaining 95% [sic] from housework. For men, the figure is 219 taka (US$6.12), 29% from own-account subsistence production and 71% from housework. Nationally, Hamid calculated that annually over 188 billion taka (US$5.25 billion) worth of work, uncounted in national statistics, is contributed 4 See, for example, Gender & Work Data Base ( http://www.genderwork.ca
) and Mothers are Women ( http://www.mothersarewomen.com
); Waring is herself an economist and former Member of Parliament in New Zealand. * Using an approximate exchange rate at the time of 35.79 taka to the US$. through annual subsistence production, of which 95% is contributed by women and the remaining 5% by men. Hamid further calculated that Bangladesh's GDP in 1989/90, calculated at 638 billion taka (US$17.83 billion), would increase by 29% to 825 billion taka (US$23.05 billion) if unpaid work were included. Similarly, Hamid calculated that the percentage of national production attributed to women would increase significantly, from 25% to 41%, if unpaid work were included in the national economy. Meanwhile, the proportion contributed by men would fall from 75% to 59%. Further findings of Hamid included: Ã‰ Conventional GDP estimates capture 98% of men's production but only 47% of women's production. Ã‰ Under the present UNSNA production boundary definitions, 95% of non-market production is excluded. Ã‰ Of the total time spent on work in rural areas, women contribute 53% and men 47%. Ã‰ Of the total time spent on non-market work, women contribute 89% and men 11%. An online survey conducted by Salary.com (a Massachusetts, USA-based firm) found that mothers' unpaid work, if paid at the rate of similar work conducted for pay, would give the average mother an annual salary of US$134,121â€”the
8 equivalent of the salary of a top ad executive, marketing director, or judge. Women working outside the home would earn a further US$85,876 on top of her actual wages for her housework. The calculations were made based on the ten key household-related jobs that women perform, and their equivalent market wages if carried out by someone hired from outside the family. The study also found that employed mothers work on average 44 hours a week at their outside job, and a further 49.8 hours at home, while stay-at-home mothers work 91.6 hours a week (Salary.com). According to the 2004 Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh , there are a total of 123.85 million inhabitants of Bangladesh, consisting of 63.9 million men and 59.9 million women. According to these government statistics, 53.2 million people are engaged in housework full-time, consisting of 0.9 million men and 43.3 million women (Table 1). In addition to fulltime housework, the 9.8 million employed women are likely to spend a significant amount of their time on housework as well. Prior to this study, there was no existing research that we are aware of that calculated an economic value for the time spent on housework by full-time and part-time housewives in Bangladesh. While it would also be interesting to know more about the almost one million men estimated to be engaged in full-time housework, that was beyond the scope of this study, and the figure represents only 2% of the number of women engaged in housework full-time. Table 1. Population in millions of women and men engaged in fulltime household work or paid employment Employment category Women Men Urban housewives/household work 24.5 0.5 Rural housewives/household work 18.8 0.4 Total housewives/household work 43.3 0.9 Urban employed 2.5 8.2 Rural employed 7.3 26.3 Total employed 9.8 34.5 Source: BBS 2005 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 millions Urban hsework R ur al h s ewor k U rban e mp loy R ur al emp loy Figure 1. Millions of Bangladeshis engaged in full-time housework and in employment Men Women Research in Bangladesh (Efroymson et al. 2006) on causes of violence against women has found that "since women usually did not hold a paying job and inherited little or no land, they were considered weak and worthless. Men felt that since they earned a living, women should always be subservient to them." Calculating and acknowledging the economic value of
9 women's unpaid work could thus contribute to efforts to prevent violence against women.