Undervalued Women‘s Work

H i s t o r y , L e g i s l a t i o n   a n d   C o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n   o f   t h e   G e n d e r   P a y   G a p

The paper points to the theses put forth by feminist economic theory and the need to take them into account in so-called general economic analyses. Feminist theory emphasizes (Madörin, 2004) that the production of material conditions for meeting basic needs must be taken into account as a separate economic issue, as the basic precondition of human freedom. Economic theories are based on the assumption that political, social and economic rights are accessible to all, which is not true. Also in this sphere, the hierarchical and asymmetric power arrangements between men and women play a role. Therefore, we need a specific  economic approach focusing on human rights. Current economic gender analyses – with the exception of few positive examples – are done in line with the neoliberal approach according to the “Add-Women-and-Stir“ method. Feminist economics is skeptical about achieving gender equality e.g. in income as long as the overall view on the economy and labor values does not radically change.

Pietruchová states that we can identify three separate models of gender equality (Rees, 1998):
— equality when male standards are applied on women and they have to adjust, i.e. equality in the sense of sameness. Rees calls this “tinkering with equality“;
— equal evaluation of inputs and outputs by which men and women contribute to gender segregated society. Rees calls this “restitching” of the situation so that it would be acceptable for both men and women;
— a new standard for men and women in which changed gender relations will replace current segregated institutions and standards of masculinity and femininity.
It is obvious that only the third model can lead to overcoming of the andocentric perspective on the economy and labor value.

At present, the only starting point is systematic gender mainstreaming.It is important that women’s movement, who initiated the process of gender mainstreaming, “safeguards” its application in the real life, so that its main idea – new arrangements of gender relations, would not get lost in the bureaucratic process.

Olga Pietruchová


In: the Central and Eastern European Online Library: Summary of the publication Equal Pay for Equal Work?
Aspects Book Edition (Aspekty knižná edícia), issue: 1 / 2007, pages: Appendix, on http://www.ceeol.com.

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