Gender inequalities are a large problem in terms of measuring economic production. The United Nations sees gender equality as an important goal, as four of the eight Millennium Development Goals for lowering poverty levels are directly related to women. While men and women both deal with discrimination and exclusion from the labor market, women are forced to contend with more barriers to full participation. There are several sources for these inequalities, including gaps in education, lack of resource access, the inability to access the labor market and structural inequalities (United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 2012).
How Household Production Can Be Measured
There exists a lack of recognition of women’s “reproductive” and other unpaid work, like homemaking and leisure activities. Women tend to spend a larger amount of time on these activities than men. When it comes to household activities, like housework, food preparation, grocery shopping and caring for household members, women spend nearly double the amount of time men do (American Time Use Survey, 2007). This non-market production has interested national accountants and economists for a while, but have not been included in the national income and product accounts (NIPAs). Early in the 1970s, Nordhaus and Tobin developed a set of extended accounts that took government and household capital services, nonmarket work and leisure into account when looking at gross national product (GNP). Taking these in account had a tremendous effect on GNP, as it was nearly doubled in 1965 (Bridgman, Dugan, Lal, Osborne, & Villones, 2012). In the 1980s, Jorgenson and Fraumeni developed the “lifetime incomes approach” to valuing investments in human capital, adding around $14 billion to GDP. Incorporating the value of household production raises the nominal GDP level by 39 percent in 1965 and 26 percent in 2010. This decline shows the decreasing amount of time households spend on home production, as in 1965, men and women spent nearly 27 hours in home production, whereas in 2010, they spent only 22 hours. This decrease is attributed to more women entering the labor force. Production in the home reduces measured income inequality. Households tend to utilize a similar amount of time in home production, but the production in lower income households has a larger impact on the income of low-income households than homes with higher incomes (Bridgman, Dugan, Lal, Osborne, & Villones, 2012). With equal measurements in economic production, the gap between genders can be reduced.
Social norms and structural biases have a large impact of how educated women are in certain countries. Women tend to cluster in few fields, such as education and health. They are underrepresented in certain fields, like math, engineering and science. This can be attributed to “educational segregation” and negative stereotypes about women (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 2009). In primary and...