It assumes that in a society with more traditional sex roles, women contribute nothing of value. Gross domestic product measures only commercial work, not unpaid domestic (in the sense of household) work. It doesn’t capture the reality that a traditional marriage–or, for that matter, its reverse, a union between a working woman and a “house husband”–is an economic unit to which the homemaking spouse makes a vital contribution.
As we’ve noted, Scandinavian countries have promoted “gender equality” by employing armies of child-care workers, most of them female. That is, they get paid to take care of other women’s children. That counts toward the GDP figures, whereas it does not when mothers care for their own children at home. It’s not immediately obvious that the Scandinavian way leaves society as a whole better off.
Actually, it’s immediately obvious to me that this leaves society worse off.
But then I’m an asthmatic-villain-American, not a progressive academic, so what do I know?