Every Day is Labour Day for Women !!

Today, 1st May is celebrated internationally as Labour Day. It is an annual holiday in many countries to celebrate the achievements of workers.

http://time.com/3836834/may-day-labor-history/

Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

But today let us also take a moment to reflect on the role of women’s labour –both for production and reproduction.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150905-pictures-labor-day-women-working-people-culture/

Women have always contributed to the reproduction role in our civilization through the contribution of their bodies being used (and taken over really) for the purpose of growing and nurturing the pregnancy and then after delivery for breast feeding as well as child care and rearing.

So what is different from other animals you may ask ?

Well nothing really, except that humans are clearly higher on the evolutionary scale and we like to believe that we are different/ superior/ more intelligent/ civilized and so on.

So then why are women still saddled with an unequal burden of child rearing while men have the option of exploring different frontiers and can also continue to have a family and children ‘on the side’ so to speak, without any interference with the trajectory of their careers and lives ?

Half the pregnancies worldwide continue to be unplanned and half of these are also unwanted. Women die both times—to continue the pregnancy to term or to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

maternal mortality

Women also contribute to labour and always have done so.

digging

During the two World Wars, it was women workers who kept the factories running, cities functioning, secret codes unravelling.

Across Asia, women farmers make up half the agricultural workforce.

787413-Women-working-in-the-rice-fields-0

The mega cities in our part of the world are being built by women manual labourers working on building sites.

11build-india11

Women make up more than half the migrant labour workforce, sending precious foreign exchange back to the home countries.

factory eye

White collar workers, doctors, firefighters, office workers, teachers, everywhere.

For this contribution to labour what do they get ?

They get paid less

https://thatwhichiam.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/ginger-rogers-goldilocks-and-gender-gaps/

They get less leisure time http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/10/another-gender-gap-men-spend-more-time-in-leisure-activities/

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.43.42 pm

and also have to bear the added burden of managing home and children.

A woman worker concentrating on her work with her baby on her side in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The infant mortality rate for working women is higher particularly among those in the primary sector, a large proportion of whom are labourers.

A woman worker concentrating on her work with her baby on her side in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The infant mortality rate for working women is higher particularly among those in the primary sector, a large proportion of whom are labourers.

Women have been increasingly sharing the burden of labour outside the home for decades now.

http://etcanada.com/news/211944/woman-parodies-bbc-interview-gone-wrong-after-kids-crash-live-chat/

It is time for men to move in and start sharing in the domestic unpaid and thankless labour also !

he can do it

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About Suchitra Dalvie

Suchitra Dalvie is the Coordinator for the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and a Steering Committee Member for CommonHealth. She is a strong believer in women's rights to safe abortion and has worked in promoting the cause for over 10 years. She is also a practicing Gynecologist.
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