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Abstract

From the 1970s onward, the work performed by women within the household was critically examined, and a feminist critique of Marx emerged. The critique was first developed in the Campaign for Wages for Housework, founded in 1972, by Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Selma James and other renowned feminists. A major contribution of this critique was to highlight women’s domestic labor in the process of capital accumulation, an issue which Marx did not address. This movement therefore sought to make visible women’s work which was naturalized into nonexistence by capitalism. This problem of visibility exists all over the world, and women continue to bear the brunt of unpaid care work; they are perceived as “natural” caregivers and shunned for seeking paid care services. Although this phenomenon is common all over the world, this paper will deal with the importance of making women’s unpaid work visible in India, as India is a developing country and more people tend to engage in unpaid subsistence work (production for self-consumption, unpaid work in family enterprises and care related work) in developing countries compared to wealthier countries. Portraying the importance and challenges of making women’s unpaid care work visible in India can trigger economic and social development of the country. This paper aims to put forward the value of women’s unpaid care work in India, and to pinpoint the obstacles that stand in the way of exposing their unpaid contributions. Considering the context of India this paper will examine the following questions:

1. Why is it important to make unpaid care work visible?

2. What are the challenges of making unpaid care work visible?

The questions mentioned above will be answered by looking at suitable literature so that theoretical and methodological issues that have emerged can be brought forward and the problems and recommendations can be grasped to arrive at a conclusion.

Note on the Author

Gulfam Tasnim has worked at several NGOs that focus on Women’s Rights and Gender Equity. Currently she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Labour and Development Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Email:gulfamtasnim@gmail.com

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