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Even in 2020, women are still asked to stay at home and take care of the kids. I think women should work, for their own sake. But is it that easy?
For the past few days, I have been quite disturbed thanks to a discussion I had with one of my acquaintances about ‘working women.’ It has been a while since the discussion, no, debate and I am still thinking about it and wondering about her thought process.
It all started when we were talking about the generic things happening in the society and out of nowhere, my friend said, ‘Women should never go to work.’ I was a little taken aback by her comment, not shocked, I am used to these statements now. As someone who’s been working for over 16 years, these statements make very little difference to me.
However, she had her own set of points as to why she thought women shouldn’t work. She said, if a woman goes to work, who will look after the kids and the husband? The kids will be spoilt without their parents’ (mum) attention, support and care. Especially if there is no additional support from the family.
According to her, only women can take care of the house, and men are incapable of it. She also asked me why a woman would need to work if what the husband earns is enough to lead a good life and own some property?
“Women NEED to be at home to balance the family. And they are also happier and comfortable if they are at home. Thanks to our society, men staying at home is a big taboo. He will be ridiculed and questioned if he chooses to do so, thus the woman has to be at home. And finally, for women, education is just to gain knowledge. You can have your daughters study and even get a PhD, but it will only be to gain knowledge,” she said trying to explaining it to me.
On the other hand, I have always been a believer of ‘women being financially independent.’ I believe that women do not possess superpowers and neither are they super-humans. They are merely humans, with their own dreams, passions, self-respect and parents she wants to take care of.
To be honest here, I didn’t really have the big dreams all I wanted to earn just enough to take care of my parents. And for this, I needed education, after that, I also got a decent job. I am happy I can take care of my parents and I am not completely financially dependent on my husband.
Which why I had my own points to defend why women need to work. I told my friend that every woman needs to be independent, at least financially, irrespective of her husband’s earning. This allows her to ensure that she doesn’t need to ask anyone before buying things she likes. And neither does she have to worry about looking after her parents.
Plus, having a job will give the women their own identity, self-respect and confidence. If they were given a chance, I believe our mothers would have loved to work and be independent. They would be happier to go to work and get out of the monotonous environment of the house. Personally, a number of times, going to work is a stress-buster for me.
Education, especially in a country like India, is not for knowledge, we barely know how to apply the basics in life. So, definitely everyone gets education to get somewhere- either out of the country or a job.
There have been so many underprivileged girls who came up simply due to education. I believe we would be able to eradicate child marriages and some of the women related issues if they are allowed to dream and pursue that career.
While, my points are good in theory, I often wonder how and if they would work in practicality. I wonder how practical is it for women in India to work, successfully.
In a country like India, there are a lot of people with the old patriarchal mindset and they believe that women should not work. They are the ones who would make you feel guilty for even thinking of working. In fact, women are raised in such a manner that they are under a lot of pressure to not take up jobs.
And for the ones who do dare to look for a job, there’s the issue of finding a reliable day care that isn’t too expensive. Not finding the right day care is one of the reasons women quit their jobs. There is a strong belief that day care doesn’t do justice to all the kids they have, and in some cases, it is true as well. And to add to all this, women are made to feel guilty for leaving their kids with ‘strangers.’
Another reason women can’t work is because of how men are raised. Before they are married, most men are completely dependent on their mums and after, on their wives. Most men aren’t taught to do household work or even cook. I have seen a number of talented and educated women quit their jobs because of this.
Travel time to the office is another reason they may quit their jobs. Women are made to feel guilty for spending so much time away from their families. This guilt and the stress of work might be another reason, they don’t want to work. Another reason is the night shift. A country like India, more often than not, is not safe for women, especially at night.
However, a lot of companies are giving the flexibility to work from home. While it is a great initiative, the woman’s work is taken seriously and she ends up doing more household chores than she intended.
Though we are making progress, I wonder when India will overcome the issues I mentioned above and understand the concept of working women. It is very hard for a society like ours, it is very difficult to change the mindset in one day. However, I hope there comes a day when we give women a chance to follow their dreams.
Picture credits: Still from Airtel ad
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I watched a Tamil movie Kadaisi Vivasayi (The Last Farmer), recommended by my dad, on SonlyLiv, and many times over again since my first watch. If not for him, I’d have had no idea what I would have missed. What a piece of relevant and much needed art this movie is!
It is about an old farmer in a village (the only indigenous farmer left), who walks the path of trouble, quite unexpectedly, and tries to come out of it. I have tried my best to refrain from leaving spoilers, for I want the readers to certainly catch up on this masterpiece of director Manikandan (of Kakka Muttai fame).
The movie revolves around the farmer who goes about doing his everyday chores, sweeping his mud-house first thing in the morning, grazing the cows, etc and living a simple but contented life. He is happy doing his thing, until he invites trouble for himself out of the blue, primarily because he is illiterate and ignorant.