What is a housewife’s monetary worth?

Dear Editor,

I have listened to many prominent persons speak on the role and importance of women. The most recent was President Jagdeo when he used the term ‘feminition’ and he said that women should be highly regarded and that their role in society was becoming more and more important. The President spoke so well of women that anyone who listened to what he said may very easily have been misled into believing that he really understood the role and importance of women. When we take a second look at how Varshini was treated it is clear that ‘charity begins at home’ did not apply. In addition, I had a matter in court which dealt with the division of property and the husband in the matter asked the question, “Did she ever work for any money?”

To all of these persons and particularly those who claim to understand how important the woman is, I ask that they look at the woman and carefully analyse her varied and numerous roles.

Keeping the discussion confined to Guyana, say the man is an accountant who earns about $400,000 per month and they have two children. The wife is just the housewife. How much is the woman worth? Using some very conservative monthly salaries for the number of jobs the wife does the figures would be as follows:

She is the cook because she has to cook three meals per day for 4 persons. Salary for a cook is $40,000.

She is the laundry lady because she washes all the clothes and irons them. Salary for that job is $35,000.

She is the baby-sitter because she takes care of the kids and should earn $30,000.

She is the child psychiatrist who has to deal with the children fighting among themselves and with peers at school; salary $60,000.

She is the financial planner because she takes the husband’s salary and has to do the budgeting, paying all the bills, shopping, provide school money and still save a bit; salary $60,000.

She is the housekeeper, sweeping, mopping and dusting the home; salary $30,000.

She ensures that the children complete their homework and supervises and guides them as they read and study. A part-time teacher’s salary would be $40,000.

She is the man’s ‘body of pleasure’ and is available twenty-four seven. If he is to pay for that he could be spending at least, $5,000 per night ($150,000 per month).

She attends functions and offers explanations for the husband’s absence. No salary for this. If he attends and gets drunk she has to drive them all home. She is the driver, and her part-time salary is $20,000.

A woman in such a home environment should be paid, based on the very conservative payment schedule, at least $465,000 per month, and that does not include the cost of bearing a child. Most of our women are in such situations but most of our men are not accountants. The average man would earn ten to fifteen thousand dollars per week. Even if you give him the upper end of the salary scale it will still mean that the woman should be paid eight times the salary he brings home, and yet that man will say that she does not work.

I ask all men and all persons in authority to revisit the role of the housewife and give women their just dues.

Yours faithfully,
Charrandass Persaud

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