Recognition of women's unpaid work will upgrade their social status, a step towards ensuring economic independence and justice, rights activists said yesterday.
On the occasion of International Day of Rural Women (today), they urged the government to ensure women's rights to family income and involvement in decision making process.
The demand came at a press conference organised by the National Committee on International Rural Women's Day Celebrations at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka, said an EquityBD press release. EquityBD works as secretariat of the committee.
The day, being observed in the country since 2000, will be celebrated in more than 40 districts.
The role of rural women is not limited to their homes. They have significant contributions to agriculture, fisheries, forestry and livestock farming, but most of it remains invisible and unrecognised because of their unpaid labour.
Besides, there is a pay gap in agriculture. While men's daily wages hover between Tk 300 and Tk 600 for processing crops, women get Tk 350.
To ensure women's empowerment, their efforts must be recognised at family and state levels, said Shamima Akhter, president of the committee.
Morzina Ahmed, executive director of Disable Welfare Society, said, “Women's labour is not considered a source of household income in rural agriculture, rather it's seen as means to reduce crop production cost.”
“Since women's invisible works don't have any monetary value, they're not allowed to make decisions,” said Ferdous Ara Rumee, secretariat coordinator of the committee.
Women's increasing participation in agriculture is considered result of their empowerment, but it is actually an exploitation by paying them less, added the press release.