What is the wealth of women?
My definition of the wealth of women is this: the wealth of women is the total value that a woman can give to herself, her family, her community to allow them to be economically productive. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Total hours and effort in childbirth to produce children with great capacity to contributing to the human resource pool of a nation
- Total hours and effort in childcare – including the cost of the total number of hours of sleep sacrificed, other pursuits declined, and overall risk borne for the outcome of the said child. (NB: In my part of the world this remains largely a woman dominated area.)
- Total hours and effort in the informal education of children to ensure they learn manners, values, and traditions that build them into valuable human resources for the nation. (Again, mostly dominated by women in my part of the world)
- Total hours and effort in domestic service for families, ensuring good health and hygiene and protecting against plagues, disease and injuries that could otherwise compromise the well being of the national workforce and even the environment.
- Total hours and effort in direct contribution to the economic productivity of the nation, including all unpaid work and services that support production in any form.
The wealth of women is the value of the emotional support they offer to each other, family and friends, that encourages them to achieve, reach higher, do more and more for themselves and their community. It is the value of the total number of hours and effort to wipe the tears, dry eyes, and cheer up anyone disappointed, discouraged or just hard on their luck. It the value of the time to listen to problems, offer insight and support decisions whose total impact transforms lives, economies and nations. It includes all the admonishments, sermons and other speeches offered up for the betterment of individuals in their quest to make something of their lives.
The wealth of women encompasses the depth of the sacrifices they make every day that is not immediately recognised nor acknowledged as having any real value in the economy – the sacrifice of their bodies for childbearing, family planning or even the effects of a monthly menstrual cycle and its associated effects. It is also the endurance of various forms of abuse at the hands of men, which oftentimes robs nations of the potential these women could bring to economic productivity. It also the ability of women to rise above abuse, segregation and sexism to achieve economic success, develop their own careers and businesses.
The wealth of women is on display in every family and community through the work of every person born of woman, every idea developed or implemented by, shared with or inspired by a woman. It is in life of every woman through everything she does or does not do, say or become. It is a computation of potential in women, and her interaction with her environment.