“Economics is much more important than just being left in the hands of economists alone”, said Professor Jayati Ghosh while explaining the concept of ‘Time Poverty’. As a part of the celebration of fourth T.G. Narayanan memorial lecture, she delivered a lecture at the Russian centre of learning, Chennai. Her main focus was on the work of millions of people across the country being unrecognized. jayati_ghosh
She mentioned that approximately 70% of the unpaid work is done by women of which much is physical unpaid work. Thus the burden falls excessively on women and also has an implication on the availability of time for their own self. A survey showed that there are women who have less than ten hours per week for themselves. Women in rich households got around five and a half hours less than men.
She brought about the fact that recognition of poverty will change the way we look at poverty. Professor Ghosh said that employment is a subset for work. In India, it is defined according to the system of national accounts. Any activity potentially delegated is work and it includes marketing and non-marketing activities whereas excludes domestic work and miscellaneous activities such as prostitution. Since these activities are excluded, female work participation is very low.
If activities such as domestic work, free collection of goods for household use, prostitutes and beggars are included, 86% of women workforce will be accounted. It will lead to an increase in women workforce participation. An increase in the education from 15% to 24% will be noticed. A shift from unpaid work to paid work will also be noticed. This will truly indicate a woman’s status in a society and show social empowerment in a nation. She focused on the point that recognized GDP is underwritten by activities that are not recognized in GDP.
Professor Ghosh pointed out that GDP in purchasing power parity terms is a false indicator. It underplays the real account of poverty and gives a relatively higher income for those who are poor. She ended her lecture by pointing out that economics can be limited when it comes to issues concerning deprivation.