Although our country has progressed a lot in terms of women empowerment, there is still an awful lot of invisible or ignored gender inequality that exists. Of course, such social issues, which existed in our roots for centuries, will take a great deal of time to fade away. But are we trying hard enough?
Today, women are forging their way ahead in their careers. Yet, the household responsibility inevitably falls on their shoulders, in a majority of the cases.
Even if a family can afford house-help for household tasks, it is still a woman’s responsibility to make sure everything is in place.
Typically, when both the partners are working, a man gets to rest after he comes back home tired. Whereas a woman has to cater to everybody’s needs at home, after coming back home tired. Which I think is very unfair.
For men, weekends are for relaxing, but is it the same for women? When do they get a holiday?
Fortunately, a lot of millennial men today are giving a helping hand to the women in the household chores, which is in fact a substantial progress. But will this ever become a normal? In how many houses is this happening?
Studies suggest :
Even though most women today are encouraged to be financially independent, their families and society make sure that they are also well trained to take up the household responsibility. Why aren’t the men getting trained for it?
She Can be Anything, Doesn’t mean she Has to be Everything.
Our family and society teaches us that, it is a woman’s responsibility, not a man’s, way back from our childhood. This centuries of culture conditioning has made it seem to be natural and obvious for a woman to take up the household responsibility, working or not. In case a man does take up such responsibility, he is considered as multi-talented or extraordinary.
Most of the Indian mothers train their daughters to do all the household chores, but they never let their sons enter the kitchen. Housework somehow seems to be beneath the nobler pursuit of earning degrees and money for men.
‘He cannot do it’, ‘he doesn’t know how to do it,’ are some convenient statements for men to stay away from these responsibilities. On the contrary, ‘she is supposed to it’, ‘She can do it better’, are some easy solutions to overlook a woman’s effort.
This concept is ingrained so strongly in our head that women naturally take up the responsibility without complaining, irrespective of their careers, talents and abilities. In fact, most woman are aware of the unfairness, but they have made their peace with it.
A woman’s self-worth is significantly tied up to their performance as a care-giver and a home-maker, regardless of their expertise in their professions.
Women have to constantly prove themselves to stand out in a patriarchal workplace and at the same time prove themselves as a great mom, wife and daughter-in-law.
Sadly, some working women also feel guilty that they are unable to give much time at home or that they are not able to accomplish all the household chores perfectly. And how much of their effort is being recognised and appreciated?
Stretching beyond their boundaries
Most women always have their hands full, as they perceive the household is completely their responsibility without second thoughts. They take too much pressure of being successful 360 degrees, which exhausts them, leaving no personal time for self-care.
Women often stretch beyond their capacities, to satisfy everybody, prioritising themselves last. This constant pressure, lack of personal time, selflessness, leads to occasional outbursts. This in turn will be criticized as cribbing or whining.
Consequentially, this heavy workload takes a toll on a woman’s physical health as well. Most women don’t get time to take care of their body, to exercise and to get enough sleep/rest. Sadly her health is ignored by her and her family as well, until a small problem becomes a chronic or serious health concern.
Are woman naturally better at multi tasking? Studies say that there is no such thing.
Having to juggle so many things at the same time, women are always on the go. This makes it look like they are naturally great at multi-tasking. Nope, they just don’t have a choice to slow down and so they eventually become proficient at it.
Interestingly, this lockdown has reminded all of us a few hard facts of life. We are now aware that the basic life skills like cooking, cleaning and organising are as important as earning money.
Apparently, most men lack these basic skills because they are always dependent on women for this part, be it mother, sister, wife or house-help. Nevertheless, men cannot be completely blamed for this because that is how our society and our families trained them to be.
Change starts at Home
It might take a few more generations for such a huge societal change to happen. However, we can start small from our homes.
We can start by teaching basic life-skills and household chores to both our sons and daughters. There is nothing wrong in teaching your son how to cook and clean.
It is both women’s and men’s responsibility to change the current scenario.
Women should start distributing their work amongst all the family members. They have to communicate with their partners about their needs and difficulties and ask for help. Most men are not experts at mind-reading. They do help, or at least try if a woman expresses how much burden she is taking and how they need help.
Men have to proactively get on board and take an initiative to help women in household chores, as most women don’t ask for it because of the inherent culture conditioning.