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Press Reports on How much Women Contribute to the Bangladesh Economy

Jointly organised by CPD and Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), the dialogue on “How much Women Contribute to the Bangladesh Economy: Results from an Empirical Study,” was held at Amari Dhaka Hotel on Saturday 25 October 2014.

View more press reports on the event.

 

Published in Dhaka Tribune

CPD: Count women household works in GDP

Tribune Report

CPD said if the woman’s household works were counted on the basis of willingness to accept method, the contribution would be equivalent to 87.2% of GDP

If household works were paid, the additional value of the works done by women would be equivalent to 87% of the current GDP as they spent on an average over seven hours a day in household chores without being paid and economically recognised, said Centre for Policy Dialogue.

The think-tank revealed the findings of a study on the woman’s contribution to the Bangladesh economy at a dialogue in Dhaka yesterday.

CPD, in partnership with Manusher Jonno Foundation, organised the dialogue on “How much women contribute to the Bangladesh economy: Results from an empirical study.”

The study recommended Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics taking policy reforms so that unaccounted activities are reflected in the GDP.  It also called for expanding civil amenities like access to safe drinking water, providing natural gas for cooking and setting up day-cares for children so workloads on women are reduced. The recommendations also include elimination of gender-based wage discrimination.

The study said while a man dabbles with unpaid family works for about 2.5 hours daily, a woman was found involved in such works for 7.7 hours a day, around three times higher compared to man.

CPD said if the woman’s household works were counted on the basis of willingness to accept method, the contribution would be equivalent to 87.2% of GDP (of FY2013-14). However, if it is based on replacement cost method, the contribution would be 76.8% of the GDP of the same fiscal year.

According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the GDP in the fiscal was Tk13,50,920.4 crore at the current prices.

The study was conducted by CPD research director Fahmida Khatun, research fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan and reseacrh associate Shahida Parvin.

The organisation carried out the study with an attempt to estimate economic values of woman’s unaccounted activities and make recommendation for capturing woman’s contribution to the economy with a view to improving their status in the family and society.

The study methodology includes primary data collected through questionnaire-based household survey, focus group discussions, and secondary data was collected from the published national and international sources.

The study is based on a comprehensive survey of 13,640 individuals aged 15 years and above. Of them, 8,320 are female and 5,320 are male residing in 5,670 households located in 378 primary sampling units across 64 districts of the country.

Among the households, 585 were from Barisal Division, 885 from Chittagong, 1,335 from Dhaka, 735 from Khulna, 795 from Rajshahi, 720 from Rangpur and 615 from Sylhet.

The survey was conducted during March to May 2014.

Fahmida Khatun said only 3.25% of the employed women are working in the government sector and 8.25% in the private sector in Bangladesh while the rest remain unrecognised.

She said the remaining 89.5% are employed in the informal sector with varying and often unpredictable earning patterns or as it so often happens, work without payment.

The unpaid work performed by women does not fall within the organised market economy and thus do not get counted in the national income, Fahmida said.

She stressed that such non-recognition also leads to undervaluation of economic contribution by women, which also lowers their social status to men.

Manusher Jonno Foundation executive director Shaheen Anam said women are still “dis-powered and the discrimination and violence is going on.”

Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Mustafa K Mujeri said a proper study needs to be conducted to have a clear perception about the contribution of women in the economy.

Hameeda Hossain of Ain O Salish Kendra said multidisciplinary approaches are needed to address the issues.

“We need to find out the cultural factors as we know women are working in labor force, however, we are not recognising it. There are also the matters of political factors like insecurity.”

World Bank’s lead economist Salman Zaidi underscored the need to improve an efficient service delivery to help women get access to the facilities they should have.

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad president Ayesha Khanam urged to include the woman’s household works issue in the 7th Five-Year Plan.

Faustina Pereira, director at Human Rights and Legal Aid Services of BRAC, said nothing can be changed unless there is changes in structure and mindset while making policies.

BUILD CEO Ferdous Ara Begum put importance woman’s security in workplaces. Former finance adviser to last caretaker government Mirza Azizul Islam said the employments for women have to be increased in formal paid sector.

Planning Minister AHM Mostafa Kamal said the limitations of the government as it “cannot do anything abruptly without discussion with the development partners.”

He said there will be no wage discrimination if it is under the same job category. “We are near Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam in wage gap elimination and it continues to improve. The government has some long-term development goals which cannot be achieved without participation of womenfolk,” the minister said.

He also asked for specific plans or suggestions on changing the relevant laws to recognise works of the women.

“Give us specific plans on how to bring unrecognised women into this. Give us specific proposals, we will discuss and consider it for implementation.”

 

Published in New Age

CPD Study
Women’s unpaid household work 76.8pc of GDP

Staff Correspondent

The monetary value of the unpaid household work done by women was equivalent to 76.8 per cent of the gross domestic product of the country in the last financial year, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Dialogue.

The survey also found that a female member aged 15 year and above spent three times more hours on an average – 12.1 – in unpaid activities on a typical day compared to their male counterpart.

The CPD conducted the study interviewing 8,320 female and 5,320 male individuals aged 15 years and above to estimate women’s contribution to the economy and the findings of the study were disclosed on Saturday at a dialogue in Dhaka.

According to the study, 75.19 per cent women who are not currently involved in paid work do not want to join paid work for reasons such as resistance from family, preference for family time, unavailability of alternate caregiver in the family and unavailability of suitable jobs.

The highest 60.4 per cent said their family did not like their engagement in paid jobs.

Those who want to engage in paid jobs prefer part-time ones, the study found.

At the programme organised by the CPD, in partnership with Manusher Jonno Foundation at the Amari Dhaka Hotel at Gulshan, economists, experts and women’s rights activists demanded the government should change the current estimation practice of unpaid activities so that women’s unaccounted activities are reflected in the GDP.

They also emphasised on increasing women’s participation in wage-based formal job sectors and changing mindset to female participation in jobs.

They said that contribution of women’s unpaid work remained unaccounted due to non-recognition of such work under the current system of national accounting.

‘Based on replacement cost method, in which the wages paid for similar types of work are considered, the estimated value of women’s unpaid work was equivalent to 76.8 per cent of the GDP of the fiscal year of 2013-2014,’ CPD research director Fahmida Khatun said while presenting the findings.

Based on the willingness to accept method, in which how much the household is ready to pay for the work is considered, the estimated value of women’s unpaid work was equivalent to 87.2 per cent of the GDP of the FY 2013-2014, she said.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the size of Bangladesh GDP in the FY 2013-2014 was Tk 13,50,920 crore at the current market price.

Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said women were neglected in society as their contribution to the economy remained unaccounted.

The government will work for the inclusion of women’s unpaid activities in calculating GDP, in line with the international agencies and development partners, he said.

CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said the government should remove impediments to involving women in paid activities in formal sectors.

‘We also need to change our mindset in not allowing women in paid jobs,’ he said.

Former caretaker government adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said that the government should increase facilities, including implementation of maternity leave in the private sector, and ending sexual harassment in workplace, to attract women in paid jobs.

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies director general Mustafa K Mujeri said that unpaid activities by women were not recognised in any policy of the government.

Human rights activist Salma Khan said that women were not engaging themselves in paid and challenging jobs because of sexual harassment, sense of insecurity and wage discrimination.

A female person of a household undertakes on an average 12.1 hours of unpaid activities while a male performs only 2.7 hours of activities.

A female spends on an average 7.7 hours in a day on unpaid jobs while a male spends only 2.5 hours on the same activities, the report said.

CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman, Dhaka University economics department teacher Sayema H Bidisha, MJF executive director Shaheen Anam, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad president Ayesha Khanam, BUILD chief executive officer Ferdous Ara, women rights activists Hameeda Hossain, Rokeya Kabir, Maleka Begum, World Bank lead economist Salman Zaidi also spoke at the programme.

 

Published in The Financial Express

Women’s unpaid work far more than paid services

FE Report

The value of women’s unpaid work is about three times more than their income from paid services, although they spend three times more time in household work compared to men, a study has revealed.

The study shows that on the basis of the replacement cost method (shadow wage for similar work), the estimated value of women’s unpaid household work was equivalent to about 77 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) of the fiscal year (FY) 2013-14.

On the other hand, according to the ‘willingness to accept’ method (outside their own households), the corresponding estimation was equivalent to 87 per cent of GDP.

It also shows that 60.4 per cent women still do not want to be involved in paid work as their families do not like and about 60 per cent women cited preference to give time to family as the other reason.

These were revealed at a dialogue on ‘How Much Women Contribute to Bangladesh’s Economy: Results From Empirical Study’ at a city hotel Saturday.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation, organised the event. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was present as chief guest while former adviser to caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam was present as special guest.

CPD research director Fahmida Khatun presented the findings of the study while CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya moderated the dialogue.

 

Published in The Daily Star

Household Work by Women a Year
It’s equivalent to Tk 675,398cr

Staff Correspondent

The value of unpaid household work of Bangladeshi women is equivalent to as much as 87.2 percent of last fiscal year’s GDP, says a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

The government should focus on changing the estimation practice of System of National Accounting so that women’s unaccounted activities are reflected in the GDP, suggests the study titled Estimating Women’s Contribution to the Economy: the Case of Bangladesh.

The study, commissioned by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), was launched yesterday at a programme in a city hotel with the aim of raising the status of women in society.

Women’s unpaid activities are considered non-economic and thus remain outside the traditional framework of GDP estimation, said Fahmida Khatun, research director of CPD, and also co-author of the study.

“A large chunk of women’s unpaid activities remains unaccounted in the economy,” she said. “As a result, macroeconomic policymaking can be misleading and discriminatory towards women.”

The CPD has used two methods in conducting the research: the replacement cost method and the willingness to accept method.

Based on the replacement cost method, the estimated value of women’s unpaid work is equivalent to 76.8 percent (Tk 594,845 crore in constant prices) of the GDP in FY 2013-14.

Based on the willingness to accept method, the corresponding estimate was equivalent to 87.2 percent (Tk 675,398 crore in constant prices) of the GDP in FY 2013-14.

These figures are 2.5 to 2.9 times higher than the total of women’s paid services, says the study.

Replacement cost is a method which measures how much money one would pay monthly if s/he were to hire someone to do the household chores instead of doing them by himself or herself.

In willingness to accept method, the value is calculated on how much money one wishes to pay for all unpaid works that s/he does daily, considering the types of work, education, age and time spent for the works.

The study, conducted in collaboration with Manusher Jonno Foundation, is based on a comprehensive survey of 13,640 individuals aged 15 years and above.

Of these 8,320 are female and 5,320 are male residing in 5,670 households across 64 districts. The household survey was conducted during March-May 2014.

“It is a pioneering research. Policymakers will get a lot of insights from the study,” said Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of CDP.

Women’s work generally remains “unrecognised, unpaid, unmeasured and invisible”, he said.

The study also says the time spent by a female person (aged 15 years and above) on unpaid activities is about three times higher than that of a male person.

On an average, a female person spends around eight hours on unpaid activities a day while a male spends around three hours.

A female member of a household undertakes around 13 unpaid chores daily while a male does only around three chores.

The study also suggests the government undertake programmes which may contribute in decreasing the workload of women in the household.

“For example, increased accessibility of drinking water, natural gas for cooking and setting up of Day-care centres for children can reduce the workload and time of women.

“This in turn can help them either to make their contribution to the economy more visible or to have their own personal time,” said Fahmida.

The study says wage discrimination against women works as one of the main reasons for their lower contribution in the national economy. It urges the government to take legal measures for eliminating wage discrimination against women in all sectors.

AB Mirza Azizul Islam, a former finance adviser of a caretaker government, stressed the need for creating more employment for women in the formal sector.

“Women’s contribution to the economy will increase significantly if we can create wage-based employment for them,” he said.

Mustafa K Mujeri, Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said the value of women’s contribution to the economy is obviously underestimated in the country.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics would consider including the unpaid works of women in GDP calculation.

The government will also address the discrimination of wages between women and men in the upcoming 7th five-year plan, he said.

The study is a part of a campaign titled “Equality through Dignity” which aims to create awareness about women’s contribution to the economy as well as sensitising the media to portray women in a positive way, said Shaheen Anam, executive director of MJF.

Study findings on women’s freedom to spend earned money

About 51.7 percent of women who are involved in paid work have the freedom to spend their earned income. Nearly 41 percent need to discuss this with their family member while 7.2 percent need to seek permission. These phenomena are more common in rural areas.

Among the women who are involved only in household works, one-fourth wish to be involved in paid works. Interestingly enough, the willingness is higher in rural areas (28.9 percent) than in urban areas (19.8 percent), according to the study.

About 60.4 percent women, who do not want to be involved in paid works, said they did not want to work outside of their homes as “their families do not like” such jobs. It is noteworthy that this perception is more common in urban areas.

Women who are currently unemployed but would like to have jobs are mostly looking for part-time jobs (72.4 percent) while women in urban areas prefer ‘full time jobs’.

 

Published in The Independent

Women’s unpaid work 76.8pc of GDP: Study

Staff Reporter

The estimated value of women’s unpaid work is equivalent to 76.8 per cent of the GDP of the 2013-14 fiscal year, revealed a recent study.

And according to the willingness method, the estimate was equivalent to 87.2 per cent of the GDP of the same fiscal year. These figures are 2.5 to 2.9 times higher than the income of women received from paid services, the study titled ‘Estimating Women’s Contribution to the Economy, the case of Bangladesh’ said.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) conducted the study to estimate women’s unaccounted work in monetary terms and compare it with the gross domestic product (DGP) of the country.

About 41 per cent of women involved in paid work discuss with family members about spending their income. About 51.7 per cent of them can spend their earnings by themselves, while 7.2 per cent need to seek permissions from family members. These phenomena are more common in rural areas, the study says.

The report was presented at a dialogue– ‘How Much Women Contribute to the Bangladesh Economy: Results from an Empirical Study’– organized jointly by the CPD and the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at a city hotel, with Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the CPD, in the chair.

The study also finds that on average, a man (aged 15 years and above) works about 2.5 hours on unpaid activities on a typical day, while a woman works about 7.7 hours on unpaid activities. Women’s contribution to the national income is still under-represented and they are almost invisible as they are engaged in the unrecognized sector where pay is paltry or none at all, the report says.

The study was conducted by two methods, replacement cost method and willingness-to-accept method, to estimate the value of unpaid work.

It also reveals that women in Dhaka division work for the highest number of hours on unpaid work, while men work for the lowest number of hours. Women involved in paid work do not find adequate time for family and have little time to rest. They cannot take care of their children or dependent elders, the report says. The report further finds that about 60.4 per cent women, who do not want to be engaged in paid work, refrain from doing so as their families do not like it. And interestingly, this perception is more common in urban areas.

Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam, former advisor to the caretaker government, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) director general Dr Mustafa Mujeri and Manusher Jonno Foundation executive director Shaheen Anam spoke on the occasion.

CPD research director Dr Fahmida Khatun presented a keynote paper.

AHM Mustafa Kamal said the state of women is undergoing a gradual change, but they are still unrecognized in various ways. “Women constitute half of the population and development is not possible by keeping them out of the orbit of economic activities,” he added.

Saying that he would work with other ministries to combat abuse and violence against women, Kamal urged everyone to work together for the development of women.

Mirza Azizul Islam said, “Women involved in unpaid work are not recognized as they can’t financially contribute to their family.”

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, however, said, “Women are unrecognized when they are unpaid. When they are unpaid, they are unmeasured and invisible.”

 

Published in The Daily Observer

Women work three times more than men: CPD

Women spend thrice as much time on non-SNA (the System of National Accounts) work as men, says a survey conducted by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

‘Non-SNA work’ covers economic activity that adds value but is not included as work in the set of national accounts, since they often lack a transactional element to them. Work done around the household by housewives are an example of such non-SNA work.

The findings of the study ‘Estimating Women’s Contribution to the Economy; the Case of Bangladesh’ show that on average, females aged 15 or above spend about 7.7 hours on non-SNA activities during a typical day, whereas a male aged 15 years spends only 2.5 hours on such work. The pattern remains similar in urban and rural areas.

The study findings were formally revealed at a dialogue in a city hotel on Saturday. CPD in partnership with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) arranged the dialogue styled ‘How Much Women Contribute to the Bangladesh Economy: Results from an Empirical Study’ at Amari Hotel in Gulshan.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, former caretaker government adviser Dr Mirza AB Azizul Islam, and CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman addressed the dialogue, chaired by CPD distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya.

Presenting the survey’s findings, CPD Research Director Fahmida Khatun said on average, a female member of a household undertakes 12.1 non-SNA activities during a typical day, while the corresponding figure for a male household member is only 2.7.

Based on replacement cost (the shadow wage for similar type of work) method, the study estimated the value of women’s unpaid non-SNA (household) work was equivalent to 76.8 percent of the GDP in the 2013-14 fiscal.

CPD in collaboration with MJF conducted the survey on 13,640 individuals –8,320 females and 5,320 males- aged 15 years and above, from 5,670 households in 378 primary sampling units across 64 districts of the country during March-May 2014.

The survey recommends the government to undertake policy reforms towards changing the estimation practice of SNA so that women’s unaccounted activities start getting reflected in the GDP. And in doing so, the government can form a committee consisting of economists, statisticians, gender specialists, advocacy groups and relevant stakeholders who can provide concrete inputs for developing the methodology to include such contributions in GDP.

It also suggests that the government should undertake programmes which may contribute in decreasing the workload of women in the household. For example, increased accessibility of drinking water, natural gas for cooking and setting up of day-care centres for children can reduce the workload on women.

The study recommends that the government take legal measures for eliminating wage discrimination against women in all sectors.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the government is working to eliminate wage disparities between women and men, in all sectors of the country.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) will develop their own system to include the value of unpaid work done by women in GDP, following discussion with all concerned stakeholders, he added.

UNB

 

Published in Daily Sun

Women contribute 76.8pc of GDP, but not paid

Staff Correspondent

The total value of the women’s unpaid and unaccounted household work was equivalent to 76.8 percent of last fiscal’s gross domestic product (GDP), says a latest empirical study.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) came up with the findings at a dialogue in the city on Saturday after it conducted the study titled ‘Estimating Women’s Contribution to the Economy: The Case of Bangladesh’.

The value estimation was made based on replacement cost method that has taken into account following shadow wage for similar type of work.

The unpaid non-SNA (UN System of National Accounts) household work done by women is not included in the GDP estimate of state statistics agency.

According to the willingness to accept (for outside of her own household) method, the corresponding estimate was equivalent to 87.2 percent of 2013-14FY’s GDP, the study also suggests.

These figures are 2.5 to 2.9 times higher than the income of women received from paid services, it said. The CPD’s study says that time spent on unpaid non-SNA household activities done by women aged around 15 years and above is nearly three times higher compared to that of a male person of similar age.

On an average, a female person works about 7.7 hours on non-SNA activities on a typical day while a male person works for 2.5 hours a day, and the pattern is similar in both rural and urban areas, it reveals. A female member of a household undertakes 12.1 such activities a day on an average against a male member’s 2.7 non-SNA activities.

According to CPD, the study was based on a comprehensive survey of 13,640 individuals, including 8,320 females and 5,320 males aged about 15 years or more. The survey was conducted in 5,670 households across the country through a detailed questionnaire.

In urban areas, the share of regularly paid employees among females is 21.8 percent while males stand at 20.2 percent. In contrast, share of day labourer was fund to be higher for males.

Two-thirds of women’s formal jobs were found to be part-time while 82.4 percent males are engaged in full-time jobs.

The study finds that only one-fourth of respondent women, who are not currently involved in paid work, expressed their intention to be engaged in formal paid jobs, denoting 28.9 percent in rural areas whereas 19.8 percent in urban areas.

About 60.4 percent of the women, unwilling to do paid jobs, said their families did not want them do so, while 59.5 percent women responded that they preferred giving time to their families.

But 64.8 percent of the willing women said they could not do paid work due to family work. Among other reasons for not doing paid work, lack of suitable jobs, pregnancy and child care were found more common.

Family insolvency was also mentioned as a major problem for not being involved in paid work. And nearly half of the women doing paid work said they could spend their earned money by themselves.

In view of the study findings, the discussants of the CPD-Manusher Jonno Foundation dialogue observed that more and more women should be brought into the formal job market as well as the mainstream development process.

They also sought timely response from policymakers so that traditional mindset about women can change and the rate of their paid jobs increase.

The study also recommended that comprehensive Time Use Survey should be conducted by the BBS on a regular basis and policy reforms should be done to bring changes to the SNA estimation so that women’s unaccounted activities are reflected in the GDP.

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Time to be vigilant, not to be complacent

There is hardly any room for us to be complacent, rather we need to be vigilant with every component of the fiscal framework. However, careful steps need to be taken while implementing the budget as the changed financial structure will have to depend more on domestic resources.

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