The recognition of unpaid labour challenges mainstream economic thinking. As Marilyn Waring (a prominent economist, politician and author) explained, mainstream economics works in terms of monetary exchange—anything produces profit is considered valuable. This means that highly destructive activities (the production and selling of weapons and the spoiling of natural resources via forestry and mining are two good examples) are more ‘valued’ than the nurturing, productive work that occurs every day in families.
The push for recognition of unpaid labour tries to correct this exclusion. Despite having been launched by the feminist movement, this process has brought to light a great deal of unpaid work done by men and even children, showing that the issue of unpaid labour goes beyond the feminist cause.