Value of Housework

The sheer amount of time and effort that is dedicated to household work by individuals, who are more likely to be women than men, is not surprising when one considers the plethora of activities a housemaker undertakes. The conception that housemakers do not ‘work’ or that they do not add economic value to the household is a problematic idea that has persisted for many years and must be overcome. In fact, this unfortunate silence when it comes to the value of housework has been a problem which was identified as far back as in 1920 by Arthur Cecil Pigou.

The issue of fixing notional income for a homemaker serves extremely important functions. It is a step towards the constitutional vision of social equality and ensuring dignity of life to all individuals. It would ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. No one would ever say that the improvements in skills that come with experience do not take place in the domain of work within the household.

Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana, Kirti v. Oriental Insurance, [Civil Appeal Nos. 19-20 of 2021].