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A percentage of the employee’s salary given as spouse salary can be an important initiative that acknowledges and honours homemakers, and empowers them.
A few months ago, a newspaper article caught my eye. A company based in Sharjah, UAE, had started the initiative of ‘spouse salary’.
According to the newspaper, an amount equal to 25% per cent of the employee’s salary would be credited directly to the stay at home spouse as ‘spouse salary’ if the employee is with the company at least for 3 years after the marriage.
It was a trailblazing and unique idea, which generated a lot of interest. But like all other news of today’s world, this too was forgotten until a few days ago when a friend posted another news article.
A Sharjah based homemaker had purchased her dream car, a Tesla. What was even more interesting was the fact that she was one of the beneficiaries of the spouse salary.
In the interview with the media, the woman mentioned that the spouse salary had made her “feel empowered.”
Reading her story brought a smile to my face. In these days of strife and darkness, the story was like a ray of sunshine. It showed how a simple scheme of spouse salary can help in female empowerment.
For women to be empowered, they first need to be independent. Independent to make their own decisions, independent to manage their finances, and independent to carry out their responsibilities.
A homemaker juggles many roles. She is a cook, a cleaner, an organizer, a therapist all rolled into one. We applaud them for their dedication and self-sacrificing nature, for their superior multi-tasking skills. However, since no quantifiable value can be put to the work homemakers do in a day, their work is usually trivialised when contrasted with a regular, salary paying job.
With no income in the traditional sense coming in, homemakers become dependent on their spouse for finances. This, in turn, takes away their independence in making financial decisions. It might be due to the patriarchal nature of our society, or because of the hesitancy of the homemaker herself.
Financial dependence might also lead to loss of self-worth in the homemaker, especially if she had been a career woman at some point in time. In extreme cases, a woman might become trapped in a bad marriage as they might be hesitant in breaking free due to lack of finances. Financial dependence leads to a gradual erosion of self-confidence. This can lead to the woman withdrawing completely from decision making in the family.
Spouse salary is an important initiative as it acknowledges and honours the role played by homemakers. By getting a spouse salary, the homemaker becomes financially independent, which makes her feel empowered. This, in turn, will lead to the homemaker feeling more valued and gaining confidence in herself. Being financially independent will give them more choice and say in the decisions of the family.
Image source: a still from the short film Ghar ki Murgi
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