Statement 1: A woman turns a house into a home.
Statement 2: There is no difference between men and women. But, it is only natural for a child to need his mother more.
Statement 3: Nobody forced her to leave her job post marriage. She, herself, decided to devote all her time to her family.
Statement 4: She is a woman with so much grace. She goes to work. Manages the home. And, yet you never see her complain.
Have you heard/said these statements? I am certain you have. If you are a woman, these statements are a few among the numerous expectations that you are mandated to live up to.
Things have changed in our society. From a time when the distinction between the spaces that men and women inhabit were stark, we have reached a point where the distinctions are beginning to blur. However, while these distinctions blur in terms of physical presence, are the rigid gendered norms of who is supposed to essentially occupy certain spaces changing?
Let me try and simplify what I am saying with an example. Women are going to work outside of their homes. So as opposed to the patriarchal idea of women not working and staying inside homes, women are going out to work. It’s not as if women did not work within homes. Every household chore has traditionally been a woman’s responsibility. And, as much as we would like to believe that running a house is not work, it is. How do we arrive at that conclusion? It’s quite simple actually. Anyone, who has tried doing household chores would know. So, what all of this together has resulted in, is that now women have double the work.
Why don’t men do household work? Well, because, for years they have been told that it’s not their job. If they have to go out and work hard and still come back to a house where things are not taken care of, what is the point? Does the same logic apply to women? Erm. Not really. Rather, the solution that is offered is that if women cannot manage a job and running a home together, they should just quit the job. After all, her job is just a supplement to the man’s job (the superior task which requires more ‘merit’). The non-negotiables are clear. Men go work outside. Women take care of the house and make it a home.
Thus, the question that arises then is, if these non-negotiables are still intact, how are we envisioning equality? Is women being a part of the workforce enough for us to claim equality?
There are no roles that men perform better or women perform better just because of their gender. But if, you tell a young mind, enough times that you are a man and this is what you do, or that you are a woman and this is what you are supposed to do, these statements like the sanctity of a mother child relationship or men being meant for ‘harsher’ jobs, get established as ‘natural’ and ‘unchanging’.
A woman’s right to join the workforce has to be accompanied with a structure which supports and incentivises her presence in the workforce. With this central thought, we bring to you our new campaign #KaamKaPartner. The idea is for men to realise that running a house and making it a home is as much their responsibility, as it is for a woman living with them. This is essential for women to experience equality while being a part of the workforce. Do join us as we look forward to some exciting and engaging conversations.