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“Our families are not empowered enough to handle a working woman.” A sad reality in India that pulls down the ambitions of working women.
Women are nowadays as educated or maybe more educated than men. They are equally competent in every field and deserve equal opportunities. The problem is with the families and mostly the mothers-in-law of these working women. They find it extremely difficult to handle working women.
In a room full of educated people, we are sure to hear everyone favor women empowerment and equality, but the same men and ladies might not be okay if their wife earns more than them, or if their daughter-in-law does not know anything about household. A women’s salary is always considered ‘additional income’ and never a part of the basic income for the family.
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If the wife needs to go on a business trip every month, eyebrows are raised, but it is definitely okay for the man to go on business trips every week. Her plans need to be made in accordance with the plans of other family members, her due dates/important meetings/ urgent orders are all kept on a back foot. Our society supports working women, but does not take their work as seriously as a man’s.
Families need to understand that their continuous nagging and unwanted comments about the ambitious woman’s lifestyle, not only discourages her, but also creates an unpleasant air between her and her husband.
If only the daughter-in-law was treated with the same respect as the son, given the same care and considered equally important, probably the family would be more successful.
I once heard an educated old woman complain, “Nowadays marriages don’t survive because the man and woman both consider themselves equal, and they both want to work. If the wife does not take care of the husband’s needs once he comes back home, how does she expect him to continue loving her?”
My only answer to her is, “The man chooses to stay a child, which is not the wife’s fault”.
I know of a lot of successful households where both the husband and wife are working. The other common factors in all those households were, a mother-in-law who understands that her son is now married, a husband who keeps her wife’s job at the same priority as his, and a woman ambitious enough to take the said path.
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Sociologically speaking and from history we see, the hegemony of a dominant group anywhere is always such that it will resist change to the status quo because it means the loss of certain privileges and advantages that they have been enjoying unequally and more likely unjustly so far. So males and those subscribing and supporting the patriarchy will resist change. But change has an uncanny way of finding its own course. Logic clearly tells us that when a wife is going to share the husband’s burden of earning the livelihood for the family, then he too will have no choice but to share the burden of caregiving and home making. Because the wife no longer performs only her traditional role of care giver but more than that, her burden in other areas should be reduced and adequately compensated too in status and privileges(formerly only enjoyed by the employed working husband). This happens in the west quite efficiently especially in happy households and families. In households where this balance is not worked out and either one of the two spouses is over burdened and unrecognised, there will discord and slow breakdown. There is now a big conflict underway in traditional societies that are undergoing these changes. Groups of people with differing interests will pull in opposite directions and for some time there will be discord. However it will all work itself out and a new order and equilibrium will slowly get established.
I so agree with each word…you seem to have read my mind while writing these lines –
(Our society supports working women, but does not take their work as seriously as a man’s.
If only the daughter-in-law was treated with the same respect as the son, given the same care and considered equally important, probably the family would be more successful.)
We face this discrimination at so many levels daily. If Son and DIL return form work at same time, son is offered to have a hot cup of tea and DIL is offered to change her baby’s dirty diaper which is waiting for last 30 mins because he peed in the diaper after his nanny left for the day. Nobody does it intentionally but its so much into our culture that people do not realize that she might also have had a rough day at work like him. His help with household chores is considered over and above his assigned job to go out and earn money and hers are duties- basic responsibilities in addition to her job which is not as important anyways.
Great topic touched and very well explained. Thanks!
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