Purabi Panwar
Women's Oppression by Sushila Kaushik Shakti Books, New Delhi, 1985, 133 pp., 30.00
Women in Focusby Kumud Sharma, Shaba Hussain and Archana Saharya Sangam Books, New Delhi, 1984, 133 pp., 30.00
March-April 1985, volume 9, No 3/4

According to a study con¬ducted by a United Nations Commission (1980), women form one-third of the total world labour force and do most of the unpaid work. But they receive only ten per cent of the world income and own less than one per cent of the world property.

Fredrick Engels in his The Origin of the Family. Private Property and the State claimed that private ownership of pro¬perty is the root cause of all the disparity between women and men. In primitive society, productive resources were com¬munally owned. Both man and woman ‘…owned the tools he or she made and used; the men the weapons and the hunting and fishing tackle, the women, the household goods and utensils … whatever was produced and used in common was common property: the houses, the garden, the long¬boat.’

This theory is too simplistic as sex discrimination exists even in countries where everything is owned by the State. A patriar¬chal structure of society which results in a ‘corresponding gender relations based on power and control’ is ‘intensi¬fied’ in a set-up where private property exists but does not originate from it.

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