Saturday 20 July 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

20 July  2019

Women – Heritage Developers

Yesterday, I was feeling a little bit down. Then I received an email regarding the value of home-maker. It was sent by a Tamil Diaspora leader. It lifted my spirits. It is usual for us to expect current returns for our work. This is more usual in Westerners than in Easterners. The above email shows the value of the woman’s work in terms of money value. The root value is the heritage that the woman makes by accepting a structure that gives her lesser reward for equal work. Since the money earner’s work and the home – makers work come under different structures, the common measure is time. Usually the Eastern woman rises before her male partner and retires to bed after him.

In her Financial Times article headed ‘Expand employer-backed childcare to close the gender gap in Sri Lanka’ author Aarthy Arunasalam recommends as follows:

[In Sri Lanka, women’s formal workforce participation is at only 36%, compared with 75% for men. Sri Lanka could raise its gross domestic product by as much as 20% in the long-run by closing the gender gap in the workforce, according to one estimate]

 In Northern Sri Lanka’s villages more women go out to work now, than they did when I was growing up there. This is largely due to financial needs  heightened by the war. But this results also in the kids not getting the parents’ mind structure but rather that of those who care for them. I started working at the age of 17 and continued until I was 48. I continue to work but more as a homemaker at family level and community maker at community level – especially in Sri Lanka’s North. These are natural expansions of our world which happen without our consent. I was drawn into it due to my bitter experience at the University of NSW. But I learnt through that experience that Natural forces include those who have been abandoned by human systems. To me realising that not one unit of my work was wasted because I did it with Belief was the best compensation for that pain I endured.  To my mind, it happened due to unjust natural discrimination at the workplace.

Ms Aarthy states [To tackle the topic of employer-supported childcare in Sri Lanka, International Finance Corporation, in partnership with UNICEF and the Australian Government, recently launched a report on ‘Tackling Childcare: The Business Case for Employer-supported Childcare in Sri Lanka’.2 The report features 10 case studies from employers across several sectors, including banking, manufacturing, and information technology.]

When I worked in NSW Public Service – my children took care of themselves. As babies they were cared for by domestic maids in Sri Lanka, who had to be closely supervised by me in many ways. The value of my work in Australia is underpinned by all that sacrifice that put myself through. But the rewards came not through the Australian Government but through Lend Lease Group where I was a contractor for a short period but was recognized highly for my contribution. Geoff Fardell who was then Finance Director of the section I serviced recognized my work on merit basis. That value less the money and status I received became of heritage value. Years later our daughter Uma joined Lend Lease independently and worked there for a long time. It was during that period that Uma had the opportunity to be a beneficiary of the Child Care centre facilitated by Lend Lease. 

 I therefore do not think highly of Australian Government’s role in this. The Australian Government lacks heritage Energy to appreciate the value of Common Minorities. Each time a Sri Lankan migrant working woman is denied Equal Footing by the Government the Government loses the opportunity to develop positive heritage in Democracy. When it has the opportunity to right wrongs, through current measures – and yet it fails to do so, its negligence becomes negative Energy.

Women who go out to work due to need – would be helped by the very Energy that the need generates. What form such Energy takes would depend on the heritage developed by their own home areas/lands/environments. The rest is calculated. The calculated part needs to fit the heritage base for there to be harmony between the two. One structure does not fit all.

One taxi owner-driver  in Jaffna often shares with me his problem in finding help to take care of his three children. His wife is a teacher in one of the islets and comes home only for the weekends. In the case of another taxi owner-driver  - the kid is with his wife whose family is in Kilinochchi which is a few hours’ drive from Jaffna. This father lives with his parents for work purposes. He was the one who demonstrated joy when he saw the tourist coach outside Jetwing – which meant business for him. His wife does not work but his child is taken care of – the same way Jaffna fathers worked in other parts of Sri Lanka – leaving their wife and children in Jaffna. That is part of my heritage as well.

In essence heritage needs to be recognized before current values are added through structures. This is why horoscopes are still matched in the case of marriages in Northern Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Political leaders are not exception to consulting with their horoscopes even to fix election dates. This often happens when they become idle in the current pathways. Women who have a true need would be supported by the Energies of other women before them who developed positive Mother Energy. But such mothers are often ‘forgotten’ when we are comfortable in our current environments. The root power is in that heritage. Like in rebirth – it happens when our environments change – including through emigration. When we take only the truth from the old environment – that is of positive heritage value that connects us to Universal resources.
It is for this reason that Hindus worship Shakthi / Energy in woman form. If the woman also makes more money and develops less heritage – then we demote ourselves. Good heritage needs to be preserved through First Respect – the way we attribute to Indigenous Community in terms of Land. 

THAT is a Lesson that the Sri Lankan Government could learn from the Australian Government.

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