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Why Are Working Women Told That They Have An Option To Quit? Are We Working Just For Pocket Money?

Posted: November 3, 2015

Just because my husband is working, it doesn’t take away my right to have a professional ambition in life or make it easy for me to to just quit on bad days.

After having spent so many years as a working professional, I have seen a common mentality among few people, that women/girls work just for their pocket money and they have an option of quitting to work any day. I don’t know if all my female friends would agree to this or not, but I have been hearing this statement many times by different people, at different places of work and at different situations.

When I joined work as a fresher, I heard few people saying “Sohini, you have a choice of quitting after marriage, anyway your husband would be earning right.” Once I got married I heard the same thing about having an option to quit post having children. Now that I have a child and still continue to work, and sometimes discuss about the issues in getting a help at home for taking care of the baby while I am away, or if at times I am irritated with my boss, or I don’t like some policies in office, I hear the same old sentence “Sohini, you have an option to quit, but we can’t do that.” And all this from some of my male colleagues to be precise.

I am not sure of the reason for making such a sentence by anyone but I am surely not in favor of hearing such a thing at every step. Being a female doesn’t snatch away the right to be career-oriented. Being married and having children doesn’t take away the right to aim high in your career. Just because my husband is working, it doesn’t take away my right to have a professional ambition in life and give me an option to quit any day. If I have a problem with a person in office or the office as a whole I have an option to join a different one which suits my professional as well as personal requirements and ambitions, but quitting work is definitely never in my wish list.  I believe in doing what I love and letting people do what they love.

I am sure all the lovely ladies who decide to be homemakers are doing so because they love doing it. If at times, they are irritated because they have too many things to do at home, how many of you would go and tell them anyway your husband is there to take care of the household chores so you have an option to quit doing these? Or for that matter, many of my friends who are working, have to go back home and do everything on their own, and when they are tired and worn out after work, how many of you go and tell her that anyway you have your husband so you have the option of quitting to do all these any day, he will take care.

All the homemakers, if they are irritated because they have too many things to do at home, how many of them can say that husband is there to take care of the household chores so you have an option to quit doing them?

I guess what is lacking here is the respect for the female gender in the minds of many. Yes I agree its a taboo to believe that the male earns the bread and butter and the female takes care of the house. But people, don’t you think we have come a long way from all these and we have explored a lot? So having such thoughts not only makes you look like an idiot in front of many but shows how inferior you feel when you compare yourselves with the female counterpart who is able to manage both with the same efficiency and without complaints!

Image via Shutterstock.

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  1. Sohini, good initiative to write up on common topics that are faced everyday.
    In my honest opinion, the write up is biased and taking one angle pot shot on the subject. It would be nice to think all round why such statements are made & the reason behind. What you mentioned is one of the reason & not everyone who made the statement want to demean or discourage career oriented women.

    Wish you greater heights with writing meaningful articles.

    • That’s an amazing comment i must say. It would be interesting if you could throw some light on why ‘such statements’ are made. Would love to hear the other voice as well. What say all?

    • Please enlighten us as to the ‘all the other’ reasons why such statements are made to working women. And then we can examine if they have any merit at all. Here’s the evidence as to why the reason stated in the article is true:

      1. No one makes this remark to working men do they? I have yet to hear a person make this reply to a man that he can just quit his job because his wife is working, if he complains that his boss is unpleasant or the work is too much.
      2. No one tells a housewife that she can just stop doing all the work she does because her husband can take care of it and she can go to work, no matter how much she complains.

      The reason is simple: To millions of people, housework is still women’s work and outside work (which actually pays) is ‘real work’ or men’s work. It’s just sad how much potential is being wasted because we straitjacket women into staying home and forcing men to have a job or a business.

      Imagine the usual scenario of the husband working 60 hrs a week to provide for his family while his wife does the unpaid jobs around the house and takes care of the kids (or vice versa). Both of them may feel unappreciated and overworked. Now imagine the alternative – both husband and wife work for 30 hours each per week and are able to enjoy careers and a fulfilling family life. I know what situation I would like!

  2. Hi Sohini, this is an amazing article. I have also faced this. I was told during an appraisal – You are a 2 income family, you aren’t going to lose anything if you don’t get an increment!!

    • You should have asked your boss if people in your company are paid according to the work they do or according to how much they deserve it? Does the watchman make more than the CEO because he probably needs it more? It upsets me when people disregard this sort of discrimination only when it applies to women. The male CEO should earn more than the male watchman because salary should depend on merit/work but no one bats an eyelid if female CEOs are paid less than their male counterparts! WTF as if they do less work..

      I also hate how people assume that if a woman is working, then the household has to be a double income one. What if the female CEO is the only breadwinner in her family and her husband actually takes care of the kids? Then instead of paying women less, why don’t we pay less to married men with working wives when compared to married men with housewives? I think that is a better solution don’t you? 😀

  3. Nice article..my personal feeling is, all these can happen if each person’s talent is honed irrespective of whether they would get married or not. In many parts of the world, the girl children are ‘groomed’ from young for marriage, rather than for ‘life’. Boys are similarly groomed to ‘earn well and take care of their parents’ rather than letting them follow their passion irrespective of the income they would earn. This has resulted in the lopsided upbringing. Many men actually do not like the work pressure and go to the verge of quitting. But they hold back just because they are the main breadwinners. If the spouse is also working, at least they can take time out of the current job and choose something where their talent is appreciated. Hardly do we realise how it affects both genders.
    Let the next generation be taught to appreciate their strengths and choose career according to it. They can then choose a partner (if they want to) who would also appreciate this. Working with motivation and pleasure will yield more productivity
    ….any thoughts??

    • These are my feelings exactly. I am now studying for my 3rd degree while my husband supports the both of us. Once I get a job, I will earn more than him because that is how our two fields are. We have both agreed that once we have saved enough to buy a house (on two incomes), my husband will quit his job and go back to college and get his MBA while I support the both of us. After all, why should only he be forced to work his entire life while I can take a break to switch fields after my wedding? If we were to have a child, I’m 100% sure that my husband will quit his job to take care of the child if I am earning more than him and vice versa. And that is assuming we feel the need that one of us has to be at home, if not we will both find a way to make it work with two jobs and the child.

      We refuse to be defined solely by our gender, job or salary.

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