After outrage, publisher to drop ‘insensitive example’ from Commerce textbook

Book used by MU students explained national income through example of man marrying domestic help

Written by Priyanka Sahoo | Mumbai | Published: May 13, 2017 2:50:24 am
University of Mumbai, Mumbai university, Commerce book, mumbai university commerce book, commerce book publisher, mumbai news, india news, indian express news University of Mumbai (File photo)

FOLLOWING OUTRAGE over an allegedly gender insensitive example in a textbook used by students of University of Mumbai, the publisher has decided to delete the example from the book.

In a locally-published book for Macro-Economics, an example to explain the calculation of national income reads : “For instance if a man employs a maid servant the payment to her may be considered as a positive item of national income. If he marries her, she will continue to do the same work without payment and therefore, may not be included in national income.”

A Twitter user shared the picture on the social media platform on Thursday, sparking outrage over the insensitive language used in the example.

The textbook published by Manan Prakashan is used by M Com students of the University as per the revised syllabus of 2016 and is prescribed by faculty members.

Following the uproar, Manan Prakashan has decided to scrap the example from the textbook.

“Our intention was not to be insensitive. The example was adopted from a western book and was changed to the Indian context for the students to understand it better. However, if people find it problematic, we might as well remove it,” said Nitin Shah, owner of the publication house.

M Com student Krish Vora, whose friend shared the tweet, said he came across the example when he started preparing for his M Com exam and found the language to be sexist. “It goes on to suggest that wife is an unpaid maid,” said 26-year-old Vora, an M Com first-year student of the university.

Gender rights activists too found the language insensitive. “The language is very patronising. It not only perpetuates gender stereotypes but also goes against the current discourse about valuing women’s care work,” said Sonya Gill, state secretary for All India Democratic Women’s Association.

Aditi Sawant, head of the commerce department of St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao, agreed with Gill. “The man marrying his maid is a very insensitive example,” she said.

The University’s dean of Commerce department, Siddheshwar Gadade, said that the varsity did not recommend the locally-published book in its list of reference books. The MU does not provide textbooks to the students and only gives a list of references for each syllabus.

priyanka.sahoo@expressindia.com

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