Monday, May 08, 2006

Gender Equality and Dignity of Labour

One of the most pertinent issues pertaining to gender equality is who engages in what vocation. Before equality of social status based on equal working opportunities is aimed for, one has to aim for a change in how people think about vocations.

For example, being a master chef is not as "respectable" as being an engineer. We club our ambitions based on how much money a particular vocation gets us. While this is somewhat understandable in a country like India (where the primary concern has been bread-winning), this difference of perception regarding different vocations leads to some of them being classified as "unambitious" or "lower".

This is so to a lesser extent in countries like the U.S., where dignity of labour is (somewhat) higher compared to here, for all vocations.

Once our attitude towards the "status" we associate with various vocations changes to one of equal respect for skilful execution of whatever vocation one is interested in, it will be easier for people to be satisfied working many jobs that we currently consider "odd".

What happens now is that males, being more assertive by nature, unilaterally make the decision of being the bread earners, because there is a "shame" in doing house work for the male. If dignity of labour is achieved, such a shame will diminish, and everyone will be more willing to take up a variety of new kinds of jobs.

I believe a good cook is more respectable than an average doctor or engineer or businessman. respect should come from how good you are at whatever you do, rather than from what you do, howevermuch inept you might be at it.

The problem is not that women are confined to do house chores, but that house chores are looked down upon as menial jobs.

I don't have an exact solution for the problem of raising dignity of labour overall, but i strongly believe that in dignity of labour lies the answer to gender-, and even caste- equality.

A connected point is: you'll always find that there is relatively more gender equality in economically developed nations. Why is this so? Because even the so-called "menial" jobs pay quite well. Chefs and often even janitors come and go in their own cars and have decent homes. I've seen this first hand. It is a pitty that I have to use expressions like "even janitors use cars" as if they are not entitled to. This is not to say that developed nations are ideal. Stereotyping of vocational preferences is very common there too.

The point is that once a certain job has respect (through it being paid well for, or otherwise), it ceases to be thought of as a job as menial as it is seen as in less fortunate circumstances. So people in general are more willing to take up these vocations, and so things like homemaking are seen as respectable occupations. Then, all (men and women) find homemaking (or cookery, or interior design etc.) a more satisfying occupation. In this case the division of labour will be based more on ability rather than the status it brings to people.

Since abilities differ between genders to some extent, even though there might be a statistical skewedness in which gender takes up which kinds of jobs, both genders will be happy, because they will have chosen what they are good at, and doing that they will be able to earn and maintain respect, which really is what "equality" is all about. Mutual respect.


Blogger Anik said...

Btw,adjust your right navbar.There is some problem with it,dunno if my browser settings are apt though.:(

May 11, 2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger CodeVarun said...

I add up few facts..
Women have the brain to run the social life smoothly. While the male main aim is to make the livings. It all about the evolution when Males went to hunt and women make the big social group to protect themselves in the absent. Our brain has evolved in this ways.

February 06, 2010 1:54 AM  

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