The paper "The Economics of Women, Men, and Work by Blau, Ferber, and Winkler" is a delightful example of an article on social science. Chapter 3 primarily discusses the evolving pattern of family and studies its impact in the field of sociology and anthropology. The evolving times have seen that family lives continue to be mainly shaped by the social structures because social identity and evolving value system would remain one of the most crucial aspects of developing societies. The changing dynamics of socio-economic and political variables have emerged as the most influential factors that are increasingly impacting the role models of family structure.
Indeed, despite huge changes in the society, familial ties are still strong social institutions that remain relevant in the current. Blau et al. (2009) assert that the family continues to act as an economic unit where the adults make rational decisions based on informed choices for the well being of the whole family rather than individuals. While it is true that changing paradigm of social equations, pose more challenges to the people, the importance of family as an integrated economic unit is still an intrinsic part of social structure, especially in semi-urban and countryside region.
In the fast transforming societal values, have gender biases have catapulted into major controversial issues. The changing dynamics of a society that are increasingly being challenged by the racial and ethnic identities reflect the fragmented socio-political values of the new family structure. But despite the changing values, they have ensured the significant contribution of gender stratification to the economy within and outside the family. Blau et al. say that in the home economics of the changing society, the allocation of time between household and labor market is closely connected to home labor time where the market goods are transformed into commodities that are utilized for the maximum good of the family.
They emphasize that the time spent on home production is as important as the time spent on paid work that helps to buy goods from the market. All the goods and services purchased from market need to be utilized in a manner so as to maximize its value to the family.
Hence, if the purchased market goods fail to give the desired value due to lack of time that is spent on converting the goods and services into commodities at home, that can be used by the family, the very purpose of earning is not achieved. Thus, the writers have rationalized the home production efforts of the women at home and have significantly given it a new meaning. They have given a fresh look to the division of labor within and outside the home and emphasize that each is important and complementary to the other if the outside earning is to be fruitfully utilized for the welfare of the family.
The home production of converting market goods into useful commodities at home becomes a vital factor in home economics. The authors have justifiably raised the status of women from merely being a non-paid and not an important worker at home to one of the key labor participants of the home production unit without whom the market earnings cannot be fully utilized. They emphasize the gender equity amongst the working population vis-à -vis wage, work distribution and consequently influencing consumption pattern of the goods produced. Blau et al.
believe that the dichotomy in the roles of the males and females was reduced when women started going out to earn and contribute financially in the household expenditures. The ‘ wage work’ was the most significant factor of feminist movement because it made women realize that working outside the home gave them more recognition as an individual which was denied to them when they worked long hours at home, doing various household chores. The gender segregation in occupation has become a major indicator of gender inequality.
They have also given a fresh perspective to women who do household chores and them an intrinsic part of home economics that plays the critical part in optimal utilization of outside earning. In contemporary times, the changing perception of gender equality has been the major element that has considerably narrowed the economic disparity and broadened the equity horizon. The reduced discrimination in job allocation and affirmative actions in the workplace have encouraged gender participation at all levels and thereby reduced economic disparity in wages amongst the working population.
The empowerment of women has also seen the polarization of gender in occupation, some occupation like teaching, with the high concentration of women and others where men dominate. Indeed, the changing dynamics of increasing multicultural society has given us an opportunity to evolve new paradigms so as to encourage understanding of gender issues for mutual cooperation and acceptance of mutual cultures, values, and division of labor.