Le Bar Feminism
Of late, thanks to the feminists, women have become a headache for the society. Whether they join the workforce or not. Even after the leftists and liberal feminists tried hard to legalize prostitution, glorify prostitutes, called them sex workers and rallied to normalize adultery in different societies, women do not want to participate in any profession. Feminists are fast losing reasons to explain why women are increasingly not participating in workforce and what other benefits need to be added for them. Every year surveys and research papers are written on why women in India (and other countries) are not participating in workforce and feminists try to explain the same with the age-old rotten theories.
The most favoured feminist explanation to this behaviour of women by blaming unpaid care work, domestic violence etc but how long can the same theories continue? Feminists are relentlessly trying. After the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 that showed Indian women’s labour force participation has decreased for another year in a row since early 2000, they tried to blame same age-old reasons and as these keep coming back every year. When despite harping on the same reason year-after-year, we don’t see any improvement; we understand these are definitely not the reasons to look for to address women’s labour force participation issue.
The Modern Feminism Impact
Initiative for what works to advance women and girls in the economy (IWWAGE) and Krea University (I have no clue where that exists or if that exists at all) has recently published a joint paper to address the post-feminist era problem that feminists have created. In order to show how women are oppressed and forced to be away from workforce, they have used the above graph with two other neighbouring countries of India – Pakistan and Bangladesh that helps exposing the irrelevance of such academic studies.
As is evident from the above graph women’s participation in workforce has reduced in India from early 2000 while that in Pakistan and Bangladesh two neighbouring Muslim countries, their participation has actually increased. Explanation is very simple. Those countries remained Islamic and poor and thus family breaking laws couldn’t take precedence like those did in India. One big factor that I see is passing of domestic violence law (ironically domestic violence is a major reason of women not participating in workforce) in India in 2005.
It is true that in traditional Indian culture, women were not allowed to work outside their home boundaries with unknown men, but that is not domestic violence. That is because their family members cared for their safety and well-being and because of unconditional love for them. That is why parents do not allow their children to work for money even today. Indians feel it is a sin to make their children work. We used to think the same way for women working outside as well. Feminists don’t understand this love and see everyone as a potential labour force to help serve the capitalists few.
This way feminists serve the interest of not the sociologists but capitalists. Traditional societies that were built around love, care and respect in a family setting, is being destroyed by these feminists and equal rights activists like this. So, if women today are not cared for, if women are also being seen as a money-making machine and they left alone – that is not a surprise.
Unemployment rates does not matter
Let me tell you that the unemployment rates mentioned in such studies actually does not matter. It does not signify anything. The example below taken from IWWAGE 2020 report clarifies the same –
If you check CMIE website data or any other business daily report you may find differences. So, it actually does not matter, unless you are in politics and want to corner the government on political issues.
Let me explain. In the above data, you find it says 21.9% urban women and 15.3% rural women were unemployed in 2020. Overall, 10.9% men were unemployed and 17.1% women were unemployed. While this kind of report always tries to blame some fault with the govt for job creation, a pertinent question that is never asked is – “are these unemployed people even employable?” or “are they even willing to take part in workforce?” and that is when we understand, these unemployment numbers actually don’t mean anything. These will only increase in the time to come.
The Employability Factor
Let me give a simple example. In early ‘90s being a BE Engineer even from an ordinary Engineering college could land one in a lucrative job. Not anymore. Now even IIT (the most premiere Engineering college in India) Engineers are not employable.
Question is, is that a fault with the govt? And the answer is ‘NO’.
The way market and industry has changed and is always changing, the formal education system can’t cope. Even being in Industry we know how challenging it is. Everyday we need to learn new things and do things differently. Can any education system adapt to that? How much industry orientation will any education system have?
Let me give one example. Suppose you think IOT is HOT so Engineers should learn about IOT. Problem is, by the time they pass out and become ready for the industry, the industry changes its rules. Something new comes up. Technology, business processes change and Engineers become outdated. Many tech company CEOs openly said that Indian graduates including those passing out of IITs are hardly employable.
When govt jobs are shrinking and are likely to shrink further; the private jobs becoming ever challenging and innovation is becoming highly tech and capital intensive, do you think ordinary graduates stand a chance in job market? Well, I need to add that with the advent of AI, Big Data and IOT, now the factors transforming business dimensions are also changing. Normal and ordinary companies or enterprises stand no chance. Well, feminists still have a chance to shouting oppression but that doesn’t help.
There was a time when Arts and Crafts, small sector enterprises etc could thrive. In Bengal for instance, women making incandescent sticks or home-made perfumes also could survive with their small business. Under different skill development programmes women are also taught the same. But how many people can survive like that when the competition is increased? The competition is even more intense under the open market scenario. Earlier when we had a protected economy in India, only home businesses were protected to grow. So, they thrived even without quality of product or service. Not anymore.
So, if the feminists need to blame anything for this low participation of women in workforce, that can’t be present government failure.
The Willingness Factor
There is another factor in the unemployment problem and that is the willingness of women to join the workforce.
Feminists blame this on their families, because Indian families are resistant to their daughters working in industry. But as I have explained earlier it is mostly due to love for them and not because they hate their daughters. Now when the daughters do get to work in industry, they don’t like.
The Report also says that – “90% of urban women more than 15 years of age are not employed, they are not seeking a job, nor they are willing to work”.
There is a study done on Women Executives passed out of Harvard Business School and who were working in topmost positions in global industry to find out the reason they were leaving their lucrative positions and settling for home-based job roles. It was found that even these women felt incomplete without the family support. High paying, high status jobs could not satisfy them.
While I was trying to get married a second time and discussed with many working women, many of them told me that they were sick and tired of working in corporate and wanted to ‘settle’ in their homes. No, even after being an MRA, I don’t blame them. Many men want simple housewives as their life-partners but the biased family laws are increasingly preventing us from marrying unemployed women. They become lifelong burden on men if there is ever a divorce.
Impact of the Domestic Violence Law
The domestic violence law passed in 2005 was a boon for women not only to break their families, but also not to participate in workforce but to sit idle and enjoy the hard-earned money of their husbands. Instead of giving protection to really suffering people in a gender-neutral way, this law separates men and also gives a huge incentive to women to file false cases, get undue alimony (free money) and also to not to participate in economy.
Since home based enterprises are not likely to succeed any more (the reasons described earlier), these women do not get employment. Even in simple tuition or private coaching business there is huge competition.
India’s labour force participation of women started falling even after getting relief from Domestic Violence. Whereas in Pakistan or in Bangladesh where women’s rights couldn’t take precedence over the Sharia laws, women still didn’t have chance to extort their husbands like Indian women are doing today.
The Unpaid Work Dilemma
Now let us look at the unpaid work scenario. This has always been a major reason for feminists to explain why women do not take part in workforce.
In almost every economic survey we are told that women participate in unpaid work more and hence their productivity and contribution to GDP is not measured. Because in that case all unpaid work needs to be made paid one.
So, when a mother takes care of her children, cooks for family members or cleans the house, she is being oppressed as she is not participating in workforce and not earning money (for herself). It does not matter what women actually want to do. What matters is what these feminists think. They want to force women to work for money and that is why they talk about making mother’s care for her children a paid activity or to create an industry around it. They talk about salary to housewives.
But the question is, who really wins if women come out and participate in workforce? Is this the women themselves or it is the big corporate houses who employ them? The simple rule of demand and supply tells us, as the supply of skilled labour increases in the labour force, the price of the labour is set to decrease. So, even when women are engaged in small scale enterprises, they need to depend on business aggregators or consolidators to manage their business and the aggregators become the creators of price. This IWWAGE report also mentions this problem. It says, women are price takers of their goods as the aggregators are price manipulators. So, it doesn’t matter if these women are working for these corporates or working as entrepreneurs, what matters is who will make profit out of this? It is the big corporates again, it is the capitalists.
The Digital Gender Gap
By citing “The Mobile Gender Gap Report, 2020”, IWWAGE report shows that there exists a digital divide between the genders and hence women are suffering.
It is indeed true that online presence of a business can increase its reach and open up new markets and direct access to consumers. The report says, in case of women family support for using internet is the key. But we also need to be aware that even that internet space is getting cluttered and reach is minimized. SEO is also a big business today that only the big players can manage well. However, this is a question no one wants to answer.
Whereas internet has great capability to increase one’s business opportunity, internet also has the potential to lead women to creating ‘OnlyFans’ and Tinder accounts. Indians are conservative for that. With the women from developed countries having equal level of internet access to males only led to a social disaster where women sharing porn videos or nudes online has become common. Even though that may be an acceptable online business opportunity for a liberal society, that is certainly not what any society would like to get into. This leads to ever increasing child abuse cases that no such survey focuses on.
Feminists may try hard to justify that behaviour as ‘her choice’ and ‘empowerment’ but these women do not necessarily get men to love them as men increasingly prefer chaste women –
The IWWAGE and similar reports always try to find new women friendly policies to bring women to the job market. They even talk about setting up creche or childcare facilities in the companies employing women. These reports always take us one step closure to institutionalize care work, that is currently free within families. Feminists teach us that women are not getting their economic security if they are dependent on their husbands. But we have seen adverse impact of having care work shifted from the mother to some unknown women. Most often the children are not cared for and they are abused. The same is the situation for elders in the family as well. Slowly all these services are getting institutionalized without even creating any value.
So, it needs to be understood that even when women are made to work and earn for themselves, it may not necessarily be Good for them. UN data says, if women in India take part equally in workforce then India’s GDP will grow by 27%; what it doesn’t say is how many children will then be abused by their caring persons and how many elders will have to die uncared for. Also, it does not take into account the decrease in the salaries of individuals with increased labour supply. So, if the GDP indeed increases, the benefit will be that for the foreign conglomerates and not to any individual. With this approach, women will continue remain the headache for the society.
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