Some lawmakers want special measurement of women’s work

Women in the legislature backed a propsoed law Monday that would include uncompensated work in the national statistics such as gross national product.

The goal of the proposed legislation is to to improve the injustices and inequalities of gender in the country, said a summary. The bill, No. 18.073, has been in the legislature since April 2011, and a presentation Monday was designed to give the concept more visibility. Although it once was shelved, the bill now has been reported out to the floor of the legislature favorably by the  Comisión Permanente Especial de la Mujer. according to proponents.

The proposal seeks surveys by the  Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos to determine how Costa Ricans spend time that is not paid work. The bill predicts that the outcome will be to produce economic and social indicators that show gender inequality and the contribution of unpaid work to the creation of wealth and well being.

The survey would obtain data on domestic work, mainly done by women, which the bill said is fundamental for the modification of social perceptions of the significant work and support to economic and social development of the country.

The survey would obtain data on housework, cooking, sewing, shopping, care of children, care of seniors and handicapped, agricultural work, volunteer work recreation and even the time transporting children to school. Men’s efforts would be counted, too.

The work would be denominated by hours. Proponents noted that more women are involved in paid work now.

The national census agency already has some data from its surveys of the families, but the bill calls for more details and to include the unpaid work hours in a special section of the economic data used by the government.

The survey work would have to be done within three years of passage of the bill. Supervision would be by the  Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, said the bill. Repeat surveys would have to be done every three years, it said.

The bill leaves the details of getting the information up to the census agency.

Presumably workers there will come up with an inferential survey to contact a thousand or so homes and project the findings to the population as a whole. The alternative would be a census where workers would have to conduct interviews at nearly every home in the country.

There was no indication what the money for the project would originate.

The summary of the bill said that similar surveys are taking place in other Latin countries.

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