Gender, Production and Reproduction

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 Vjollca Krasniqi

 

Gender is a basic structuring principle of the political economy. On the one hand, gender structures the fundamental division between paid ‘productive’ labour and unpaid ‘reproductive’ and domestic labour, assigning women primary responsibility for the latter. On the other hand, gender also arranges the division within paid labour between, for instance, higher-paid female dominated’pink collar’ workers and domestic service occupations. As a matter of interest it is argued that gender is in the foreground of the intersection between capital, labour and culture. Hence, the study of gender can only be fully comprehended by looking at the political economy: production and the political economy of the household: reproduction, simultaneously.

Women at Work

GenderProductionandReproduction
Source: www. gazetaexpress.com

 

True, the economic and political dynamics under the processes of globalization have not only re-structured economy and its institutions, but also re-defined cultural understandings of identity, labour, well-being, and culture. Yet, the supremacy of men as heads of the household; and therefore as primary breadwinners, is the prevailing reality. Men are seen as the only source of security in the family and in public/state making politics. The gender division of labour and the dichotomy between the private and the public sphere is reflected in the labour force. Women have a far lower participation rate in the labour markets.

Today, in Kosovo only 18 per cent of women, compared to 55 per cent of men, participate in the labour market. Women comprise 38 per cent of public employees (Gender Profile Kosovo).  Indeed, this reflects a gendered division of labour with women occupying administrative/technical and not decision-making positions. Women are estimated to own less than ten per cent of all businesses, of which over 99 per cent are small enterprises (UNDP Kosovo 2014). Moreover, there is gender difference in earning and the labour supply. This can be attributed to the persisting gender gap in education. As a result women,along with the young workers and those with the least level of education, have the highest probability of unemployment.This situation points to a need for affirmative actions to support women’s entry into the labour market and for advancement in their careers. Indeed, the Kosovo Labour Law, which was much debated, guarantees women’s right to work. It offers women maternity leave—also subjected to harsh critique by women—where employers are obliged to pay for the first six months, while the state covers three months, and the other three months women can take without pay.

True, as a public issue, unemployment is a fact of life for almost half of the population in Kosovo. But it is women who are by far excluded from the labour market. This indicates that not only are jobs unavailable and insecure, hence making a majority of those in employment:precarious workers, but also it showsthat labour markets are gendered phenomenon and enforcers of gender inequality.

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