Why are women with dreams are by the salary of the man in their life? Can’t they be individuals with passions and goals?
A few days into my marriage, an old friend; let me probably call her an acquaintance; sends me a congratulatory message and the question of whether I have continued my job after marriage.
“Why would I leave my job just because I am married?” I pondered. “Is marriage my ultimate goal, my path to nirvana? Obliging my duties towards the husband, kids and everyone remotely connected to the in-laws’ family is what makes me a complete woman? Really??”
How easy it is for our better halves; wearing Raymond suits makes them a complete man! Gender equality? What’s that?
Anyways before I could come out of my thoughts and answer her, came another dreadful sentence, “I suppose your husband would be earning a handsome salary so you would have left your job.”
I know, I know, I could have blasted out at her. I could have schooled her for regressive thinking. But would that have changed anything? Moreover, I did not want to spoil my day, so I just pitied the girl and let it go.
Later that evening hundreds of questions were hovering in my mind. How come this generation, even after all that education, continues to think like this about working women?
I had a full-time job until my little one turned 2 and later, I took to freelancing. So I have all the labels, a working woman, a work from home mom, and a stay at home mom under my name. Doesn’t make my husband a working dad though, I wonder why.
My priorities kept changing, my definition of the ideal world kept twisting, the ‘women with dreams’ inside me kept growing, but one thing that remained constant throughout was scrutiny. ‘I am working to make ends meet for my husband couldn’t earn enough’; ‘I am a heartless mother who would leave her 6months old at home while I would be in office’, were the most appalling judgmental comments I heard.
I can’t grasp why women with dreams are judged by the salary of the man in their life? Can’t they be individuals with passions and goals? Why is a working woman often associated with poor financial conditions at home?
You may think I am generalizing what just one lady told me. But that’s not true, it is only an example that I have cited. I have had several other instances and comments pouring in from women in different walks of life. Mostly these come from older women and (and at rare times from men) who never knew the importance of financial freedom, gender equality, and the passion for working. However, it disturbs me when women who qualify in the ‘highly educated bracket’ speak on the same lines.
Once a lady, who boasts about her degree from a top university in India said, “Your husband must not be earning enough so you are compelled to work”. Unfortunately, education doesn’t guarantee wisdom or even knowledge. And by the way, what is ‘enough’ money? How much ever you earn, does it ever suffice? Even the Ambanis or Warren Buffetts, want to work towards a better version of themselves. They prosper in their work and money comes along.
In my journey until now, love for my daughter versus self-love kept oscillating. I love her to the moon and back. She is my inspiration, she is my strength, a powerhouse of positive energy but that does not mean I want to make her a life-long project, keep working on her, and forget about my aspirations.
Kids follow what they see, hear all day long. To raise a headstrong, fierce, and ambitious daughter, I have to be one, isn’t it?
I completely respect everyone’s choice. Working or non-working, married or divorced, single or unmarried, kids or no kids, nothing makes you less of a person or a woman.
It’s high time we women take a plunge to stop judging fellow women for whatever choice they make. Everyone is different; some lead a fulfilled life by taking care of their family. For some, this alone is not enough and their dreams are important. They need a higher purpose, an aim they can work towards. That doesn’t make them less of a mother or wife. That makes them more human who want to grow, have a distinct identity, and want to gain different experiences in life.
First published here.
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