Looking forward to the annual budget? Here’s our wishlist for Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman!
We still think of homemakers as dependent women who do not have a right to making decisions for the family, financial or otherwise. When will this sorry state of matters change?
If you carry a smartphone, then you can’t afford to skip a Caller-ID app. This will help you to identify the spam or unwanted calls and block unsolicited marketing calls before they start pestering you. It’s all about technology helping our busy lives, but can this app really manage unwanted calls?
Last month, I got a call from one XYZ charitable trust. The lady on the other side started her pre-written speech without knowing anything about me. I am usually wary of such calls, and I disconnect after saying thank-you.
This lady told me all about the NGO and how every single penny can help them. I listened to her quietly, without showing any disinterest or even any sort of enthusiasm. While ending her speech, she asked me to donate and then asked me about my profession.
I answered that I am a homemaker, without disclosing anything about my part-time work. To my surprise, (and some degree of dismay), the lady on the other side suddenly went quiet, as though I had just dropped a bomb over the phone line. I held the phone a little longer to know how she would react to my answer, but she cut the connection. She must have thought that as a homemaker, I couldn’t donate anything. Maybe she had assumed that a ‘financially dependent‘ woman could not decide upon any expense without asking the ‘breadwinner’ of the family.
This assumption on her part gives a very interesting, and regrettably a very ‘real’ picture of our society – she was not completely wrong, because I have seen many women who do not earn, who are held accountable by the ‘breadwinner’ for every rupee they spend on themselves.
I still remember one woman who was financially well-off,who when asked for a Rs 100 donation, refused, and immediately justified that she needed to ask her husband. I was appalled to see that a mere Rs 100, which has no real value in today’s world, could become a point of contention for someone. I am not judging her for her decision; of course, she has to do what works for her, but should a woman really need permission to spend Rs 100 on her own?
If she is financially dependent (whether by choice or circumstances) does that mean she is of no worth in her home?
Or can only a woman who earns have a right to decide on what to spend and how to spend? (Which is also not a given in many homes – working women who earn also often need to justify their expenditure to a husband or in-laws!)
Can a non-earning member decide on any kind of financial planning?
Being a homemaker, a working woman, and having lived many other roles, I had never had to go through such a struggle. I am given the same respect, and am a decision maker of the family with others.
I can decide on what is to be bought and what is not.
I can decide if I need to donate some money to XYZ or not.
I can decide what I need, and need no permission of any sort.
Assuming homemakers as the burden is the biggest myth of our society. Most people think that since they are dependent, they must agree to all things, and their consent is not important.
But don’t they see the hard work they do for the entire family?
This could be the reason why a lot of petitions keep talking about ‘should homemakers should paid for their work?’
Honestly, if you ask this question to me, then my personal opinion is that they can never be paid for the work they do for the family – it is priceless. And the only reason is that they do everything with love and compassion. They only expect love and respect in return, just like a breadwinner of the family. Husband and wife are two aspects of a family, complementing each other; who earns more should never be the question. Each should have an equal say in all matters.
Homemakers are usually primary caregivers in most families, but not the secondary when it comes to financial decisions. They have an equal right to decide. They don’t need to enter each penny they spend in a register. How much she takes care of each person; isn’t she worthy enough to be thanked? Shouldn’t they have the right to independence of decision like any other financially independent members of the family?
Or is money the only measure by which they get respect or equality in their family?
If this is what prevails in a much-educated society then what are we fighting for?
Will these educated and non-earning women ever get justice in terms of respect, and being a decision maker of the family?
I hope for better things!
Image source: By Sanyam Bahga [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
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