ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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All Work, No Pay

In a judgment delivered on 5 January 2021, the Supreme Court of India emphasised the importance of fixing a monetary value for the housework done by women as homemakers. This article analyses the contemporary developments in this regard, through economic, legal and feminist perspectives. The article argues that in line with judicial precedents, the present judgment provides an impetus to value the labour and services of homemakers, which would give such work the much-needed social recognition and value. It further argues that while it is a welcome trend to attribute a pecuniary value to homemakers’ services after their demise, for purposes of determining quantum of compensation, a similar approach is warranted in matrimonial disputes in determining alimony and in dividing matrimonial property.

Centring Women’s Experience

The recent court verdict is a legal recognition of “gendered power imbalance.”

Envisioning and Striving towards Gender Justice

The efforts of the secular women’s movement have ensured that the debates on family laws are no longer framed in terms of uniformity, but gender justice. Progressive and forward-looking laws addressing familial violence, a range of partnerships and living arrangements, property and inheritance, divorce and maintenance, guardianship and custody, and disenfranchisement within families, will serve as an impetus for social change.
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