The future of work must also mean more women at work, and this future must deliver on gender equality.
Women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men. The unpaid work they perform subsidizes the cost of care that sustains families, supports economies and often fills in for the lack of social services. Yet, it is rarely recognized as “work”. According to UN Women, unpaid care and domestic work, if valued, would count between 10 and 39 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
Laetitia Vitaud, author of “En finir avec la productivité. Critique féministe d’une notion phare de l’économie et du travail” (Goodbye productivity. A feminist critique of a key notion in economics and work), and specialist in the future of work, argues that one of the endemic issues is the persistence of the notion of productivity in our economic discourse. According to Vitaud, we still rely on the notion of productivity coming from Adam Smith and other classical thinkers that lived in an industrial world where paid work was male, and female domestic work subordinated to it.
“The way it is measured, productivity ignores so many things... An hour of human work is more or less productive depending on essential factors (being well nourished, being in good physical and psychological health), which themselves require work. Just as GDP (gross domestic product) ignores negative externalities such as pollution and exploitation, productivity is a blind indicator that ignores power relations and networks of relationships.”
Vitaud believes in the new way of working brought by the pandemic leading to a well-shared flexibility allowing everyone to have better control of the balance between professional time and personal time. And so do we!