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Women may work and contribute as providers along with men but we still cannot ignore the reality of gender inequality at homes.
Whenever we talk about gender violence against women, the first definition that comes to mind is the literal meaning of the term. The physical violence, the pressure, the sexual oppression, the psychological manipulation and the sexual crimes all come to mind. But isn’t it also gender violence, for example, the domestic work overload that women suffer?
The question of gender has a special impact on this type of work. Especially since ‘with special dedication and consideration,’ everything domestic is delegated to women. They are, very conveniently, considered ideal and obligated leaders who do it all; right from raising children to taking care of the elderly, both family members and politicians, women are expected to do it all.
Men are given the task of providing outside the home. It is an ancestral sexual division of labour, thus, systematically deepening a feminine stereotype. A stereotype that doesn’t seem to have an end. In fact, the overload has only doubled since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Argentina, women take care of 65 percent of household chores compared to 35 percent of men. The Permanent Household Survey (EPH) highlights that, while women dedicate 6.4 hours a day to housework, men only do 3.4 hours. This shows that women may have made progress in work and academics but gender inequality at home still exists. Women may work and contribute as providers along with men but we cannot ignore the reality of gender inequality at homes.
Let’s see some tasks that should also be taken into account beyond the essential ones to maintain nutrition and hygiene –
Bathing and dressing children- In some households care roles are shared. But it also means that for every 30 women who bathe and dress their children, a man exclusively performs this role in his family.
The habit of putting children to sleep – For a man who puts his children to sleep, there are 13 women who take care of it at home.
Accompany the children in the preparation of their homework – A function that only 4 percent of the men surveyed fulfil in a unique way. Shared participation was 36 percent while 56 percent falls on women.
Control of technology consumption – For every man who controls the use of technology at home, three women perform the same task.
Women play multiple roles each day, that of a mother, a spouse, emotional support for multiple people, workers and administrators of the family budget. This often leads them to mechanisation, robotisation or, worse, a masculinisation to gain a place or simply survive in the most rational way. Really, women have to make an extra important effort not to allow it to be seen totally or partially veiled one’s own femininity and identity.
How to avoid guilty and ungracious for having to stay at home working for the family while being surrounded by the affection of the children? And how to make them understand that submission is not love? That thoughtlessness is not love? Or that indifference is not love? That forced dependence is not love?
Women who dare to reveal themselves, those who complain, are intimidated or violated. The patriarchal system does not allow uprisings, the vicious cycle must continue without changes. For women to ask for equality, to leave their homes, to study, have decent wages, committed jobs and positions of power is too much for the not only male but also capitalist system. A system that needs women who manage and raise the working mass to continue doing that for their existence, development and prosperity.
The Spotlight Initiative is an alliance between the European Union and the United Nations to end violence against women and girls in the world. This time it launched the #ITakeCare campaign to highlight the pressure exerted on women who must take full charge of housework and family care. The video was made in a joking tone. Thanks to this, it assured a total success going viral immediately.
A voice is heard saying, “When women are overwhelmed by household chores, a group of men who solve all kinds of problems will appear and help them by doing what they do best, pretending. What do you have to buy? Tell me and I do, Why are you doing all that alone? You would have warned me, If you don’t tell me, I can’t know, I’m not a fortune teller.
And again the voice-over, “The helpers, a group of men with different abilities who do not take any kind of decision or proactive action in housework and care, find them in your family, at work and in your group of friends.”
The fact of being able to detach from the maternalistic bias contains a taboo issue that is very serious and difficult to deal with and raise. That of the distrust when it comes to delegating the care of children and adolescents to men.
This isn’t because they are incapable or lack of resources, but because of fear of possible abuse. The reality is that abuses occur in homes (70 percent of children are abused at home) and in institutions, especially, although not only religious ones.
The Spotlight Initiative recently launched another campaign, #FriendRealizeIt. He speaks to men to stop gender violence. And invites them to think about machismo and proposes a model of masculinity without violence or stereotypes since attitudes are perpetuated from one generation to another. This shows that the upbringing of children shapes the roles that are assumed later in adulthood.
Picture credits: Still from an MTR ad on YouTube
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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.