The workforce comprises of a major part of the economies of a country. Countless and endless discussion have been held about the same, appertaining to various questions involving unions, equity, globalization and various other changes and characteristics of the economy. The two books, Unions, Equity, and the Path to Renewal edited by Janice R and Patricia L. Baker and Silvia Federici’s Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle, provide considerable insight into the same issues that have evoked the interest of countless people belonging to the workforce. In this essay, various facets like, relations between paid and unpaid work, social reproduction, challenges that equity-seeking women face in paid work and unions, relations between women and other equity-seeking groups and globalization will be addressed to seek out the stance the texts provide on the same.
Union activity to be renewed requires an integral equity within these unions that have been generally observed in the practices by female union right activists, this essay will focus on this particular kind of activity that has largely impacted union survival but has gone largely unnoticed. Deep rooted biases based on gender have also been a part of the scenario. The existing union membership is also very diverse currently, with the unions being highly feminized. The union scene has to cater to the needs of women as well, currently. Various kinds of interventions are now being devised to make sure that women have a better experiences at the jobs they are a apart of. Unions, Equity, and the Path to Renewal focuses on these changes and tries to analyze if these changes are a promising contributing factors to the future of unions.
Equity is an important term that just cannot be ignored, like the paid and unpaid work categories. Paid and unpaid work according to both the texts have a much gendered nature with the masculine workforce getting better pays and the female workforce getting lesser or no pay. This problem can be traced down to the fact that men are considered the primary bread earners of the family who are responsible for the monetary affairs of the family but it has to considered that women who stay back at homes do a lot of unpaid tasks that are mandatory for the family to function normally. Women are responsible for various tasks that are integral for the normal functioning of the family. Teaching children, household chores, running errands are all supposed to be paid tasks, and are paid in various places and countries,. The task of cooking and preparing food is the task of chef but the woman in the house does the same for free. It can be called a task that is paid back in kind with the love, care and appreciation form the members of the family but the payment is in kind. However, this can be argued that men are involved in a lot of unpaid tasks too for the sake of the family. This is often discussed in unions because any kind of work is work. It deserves to be paid, are housemaids actually unemployed or are thy no receiving monetary appreciation for the work they do for the family? Unpaid work is also work. Mothers often cannot afford a full time jobs because they are too busy rearing up children who are in the beginning stages of their life. These mothers often take up part time jobs like bookkeeping or project management in various social agencies are should receive remuneration correctly. Various single mothers are solely responsible for their children and if they are not remunerated correctly, it becomes very difficult for them to provide for the children who deserve proper lives, given the rising costs of living and education. Unpaid labor of women have lent to the subsidization of the cost of living of various people. This unpaid work can in reality contribute to the 10 to 39 percent of the GDP or gross Domestic product of a country. With climate change and other factors coming into the scenario the unpaid labor being put in by women is rapidly increasing. For example if we consider the scenario of conserving water, the women in the homes have to put in more effort to conserve water, after gathering water and utilizing it all the while making sure that it is not over utilized or wasted in the process. With rising medical costs, parents and adults often take care of children or people with medical issue, without the help of doctors. Thus it can be said that there is a lot of unpaid work involved in the day to day life of people, especially by women which remains unpaid or appreciated monetarily. It has to be noted that this is detrimental in the long term because people will inevitable become stressed out or unwilling to the jobs any longer as they do not reap much personal benefit for them.
Equity demands equality for all. Women have long fought for the same, given that throughout history they were considered the secondary sex and it took a lot of revolution and effort to reach a position where career opportunities have opened up for them. However, the writers realize that there is a long way to go and people need to be more accepting of these groups. These groups that demand equity along with women are members of visible minority groups, LGBTQ2S people, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. Policies and strategies in workplace are made by keeping a certain kind of people in mind and it becomes hard for other people of other groups to enter the same. Structures of various companies are never all inclusive and suffer the wrath of these minorities and groups that are being left out because of the same. To keep equity as a guiding principle, these companies need to make policies that are more flexible in nature and can be bent to be more inclusive of all kinds of people. The organizations will have to respect and value all the differences and must work on them to achieve equity. The diversity within the unions that is discussed in the book by Janice R Foley focuses largely on the diversity within these unions. This diversity may be demographic or even social. These unions focus a lot on the treatment of diverse workforces within organizations and questions all the questionable methods of treatment of the same. Low wages, improper appraisals and little support from the various teams within the organization is a matter of concern in these cases. Identification of biases that makes organization stop themselves form imparting the correct role to an individual based on their gender or ethnicity is an important step towards achieving equity. These meetings within the unions often talk of the same and devise better methods that can be taken up by the administration to help these people settle in within the fabric of the company. Stereotypes that state that women should be limited to jobs of a clerical nature should be banished because countless women are now excelling infield that are managerial or based on leadership. Inclusion is important, exclusion is no longer the rule of the day. Exclusion is now a concept limited to the pages of history and inclusion should be one of the main priorities of all kinds of organization. Inclusion will allow the smoother inflow of fresher and better ideas from various perspectives. All individuals will be at their productive best if not subjected to policies that are exclusive in nature. Inclusive policies must be implemented in organization to also allow growth of all kinds of people in all kinds of sectors. People from every strata of the society is now rising up to a certain level where one cannot state that the other is ill equipped for the job or not qualified enough. Every person also by the virtue of being human has fundamental rights and should be allowed the opportunities that will help them monetarily while making a career and working for an organization by the policy of give and take, If a worker does well, incentives must be provided even if she is a woman.
Social Reproduction is presented as a feminist theory in the books than just in a Marxist Sense. It combines the theories about the organization of sexuality long with biological reproduction and the availability of basic needs. The perpetuation of gender along with the continuation of the apparent class relations is explored. Social reproductions is not just limited to institutions, it also extends to the families. The work of social distribution extends towards women quite a lot. It is highly focused on how the children are reared up by women in a family and are subjected to their viewpoints and ideas about life than a patriarchal view of the society. The idea of patriarchy is something a child eventually realizes in the years of growing up. It is not very evident in the starting years of a child’s life. This relationship was different across ages. The children in a modernized civilization comes across the women and the mothers as working members of the family and caregivers. They understand that their work is not just limited to an institution or just a family. Marital relationships, work, sexuality, child bearing age, and other female aspects used to differ and now are seen in a far better and progressive light. Although the woman who works is not expected to be lacking in their work or falling behind on schedules when it comes to their career but they must be allowed some time to take care of their families. Social Reproduction now also demands the presence of fathers or men in the scene to help a child understand and grow up in a more gender neutral world that does not imbibe patriarchal values. Social reproduction has yet another change in the modern era with family sizes reducing and couples embracing a double income, no children policy because of the increase in population, lack of resources and for the family to rear up children. This change has been broadly discussed in the books as an issue that is brought up in union s as often women pose difficulties because of the lack of time to contribute to a family,. However, this problem had been present within men despite the idea that they are not innately responsible for the upbringing of children. They have lacked time for their family because of their role as a provider, who is solely focused on gathering resources for survival rather than helping social reproduction in kind.
The life of a woman can be challenging in both work sectors and unions as they face countless challenges in both life and the union. The union often fails to draw in between the personal and professional lives of women. The very organization that tries to solve biases in corporate organizations suffers from biases. People of various ages and beliefs come together in these unions and many are of the belief that motherhood and family is the sole responsibility of the mother but in reality, the woman is more than just a mother or a caregiver. She has the right to financial independence and a life apart from the bonds within a family. The union needs to set their priorities right and practice what they preach when it comes to women. Women must also be allowed to have a voice and must not be mansplained at meetings. The movement of women trying to help organizations and themselves understand their needs and wants to make life better for all sexes and companies and promote harmony. Unions should be healthy and the organization one must look up to for understanding and integrating equity. Unions are not always as unbiased as mostly presented in various places and texts and are not always the perfect models of unity one must look up to. Women have a long way to go when it comes to achieving complete equity in a method that helps them balance out all the sectors of their life in a healthy manner.
Global economic independence and variously integrated organizations are a part of the globalized world. It must be kept in mind that women play a large role in this newly globalized organization. Information has now become more accessible with technological developments rapidly changing and helping people with further knowledge. Capital of organizations has accelerated and they have become much more open to possibilities and now the advocates of globalization have put forward their arguments for women to be exposed to such advancements for them to climb up to the place men have already reached, given the fact that they were never subjected to subjugation and dominance that radically pushed them behind in the work scene. Because of the easier availability of information, women are now more exposed to chances and career options more suited to the kind of life they might want to lead. The rising demand for women in the work sectors is now bringing in societal change that is appreciated in this newly globalized world. Attitudes and behaviors are being positively affected with people getting better ideas about things that are related to gender and equality and correcting any kind of view that promotes anything negative. However, with an increase in avenues, the amount of spaces in which inequality has become a problem on a larger scale. What is the point of an increase in information of it preaches otherwise? The competition that has been unleashed in between the two sexes is growing to new heights and coupled with various feminist movements and laws being implemented to secure the women’s position, this has triggered off various male elements and this is affecting the movement and adversely affecting the morale of the people. The career of the woman become so stressful at times that the woman ends up neglecting her various duties to the family and children because of work pressure and is often diagnosed with mental health issues because of harassment. Media is working to help upgrade the lives of women and spreading awareness about the various problems a woman might face. However, globalization has also adversely affected men in some spheres as a few movements are so erogenous as it radically pushed men into a bracket that brand them as harassers.
It is evident that the books explore various sectors of women’s activism that is focused on workforces and discussed in unions, It is important that one considers that the various aspects have more sides than the one presented in the books. Various segments of the work life presented require more vehement activism to ensure a better work life for women and a much more stable personal life. The situation should be balanced and the books can be considered a correct guidance into the right direction. The book should be read to understand the view that needs to be adopted to reduce gender inequality and other problems raising in the workforce.
Federici, S. (2012). Revolution at point zero: Housework, reproduction, and feminist struggle. Oakland, CA: PM Press.
Foley, J. R., & Baker, P. L. (Eds.). (2009). Unions, equity, and the path to renewal. Vancouver: UBC Press.
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