Add the Economic Value of Housewives in the Malaysia GDP

Add the Economic Value of Housewives in the Malaysia GDP
Photo Credit:Randy Yang@Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

What you need to know

A state councilor has proposed the economic value of housework must be recognised to effectively enhance the status of women and promote gender equality.

Malaysia: Penang state executive councilor Chong Eng has proposed that the economic value of housework must be recognized to effectively enhance the status of women and promote gender equality.

Chong said the recognition of the economic value of the work done by the housewife is not getting wages, whether from her husband or from the government.

The time has come to estimate the economic value of housewives to include it in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), she said in a statement.

“For example, assuming a housewife makes RM1,000 monthly, as per the minimum wage, and assuming that there are 100,000 full-time housewives in a country, then within a year, the total economic value of these housewives would be equal to RM1,200,000,000 (one billion two hundred million ringgit).

“This shows that housewives as a whole play a big role in contributing to economic growth in a country, rather than being a bunch of non-productive citizens," said Chong, who is in charge of the state youth and sports, women, family and community development committee.

She noted that most of the household duties, such as cooking, laundry and childcare, are done by housewives.

“If such chores are done by others, we need to pay them. However, housewives do not receive wages for performing these chores. Because of this, they are economically categorised as non-productive.

“They are dependent on their husbands for their living and therefore, their status in their family is usually lower than the breadwinner," the DAP Wanita chief added.

Chong believes that officially recognizing the economic value of household work would help recognise the contributions of housewives.

“This in turn will make them, who these days prefer to be called homemakers, more respectable," she said.

“Thus, recognizing the economic value of housewives will certainly promote gender equality."

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: Olivia Yang

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published by Malaysiakini.