Really!!!! Astounding how many families in India think that allowing a girl to work, be it daughter, wife or daughter-in-law is being supportive. The thought is, the very fact that she has been given permission is support enough! That she may have to study or work as well as, look after her children, family and house is all taken for granted.
When we talk about support system to be provided to a career girl it is rarely done without a hitch. In many a double incomed households every member is fully aware that the smooth running of the house would not be possible, if it weren’t for the packet that the wife brings home. However, the “bread winner man” of the family is always awarded a decree of non-compliance toward any household responsibility while the female counterpart has to manage both.
The Ariel ad….”share the load”, which went viral was liked and applauded all over but unfortunately it reflects the state of many of the households in India. While most in the Metros might roll their eyes and say that’s so regressive, that’s not how it is….the fact is that it still holds true in many households all over India. I would strongly say that gender equality is NOT a feminist viewpoint. It is about the change required in the value system propagated by men down the years. Men need to believe, understand and respect that women deserve to be treated as equal human beings.
Unfortunately, I realize that most who would be reading my post would be women nodding their heads in agreement, the men would have probably left the page. But let that not deter us from emulating what that ad teaches us. “It doesn’t make you less of a man if you help with the housework.” A norm we can teach our sons, so that they become more understanding towards their spouse. Let us begin to teach the men in our lives to applaud the accomplishment of women in different fields with genuine appreciation. My son cooks extremely well and my daughter excels at dare devil stunts but that doesn’t question their gender ethics as both are genuinely appreciative of what the other can do. A basic equality training I have given my kids. Begin teaching the mutual respect at home and watch it grow into their psyche…
A note for the moms and the mother-in-laws of the future : Let the working woman feel her home as her haven not as another workplace that she has returned to. Just because you didn’t have the opportunity/ambition/qualification/drive in your younger days don’t make her feel guilty about your helping out at home today, allow her to feel the sense of relief. A strong back-up system at home will only help her to do her job with better efficiency without worrying about what she has to manage at home as well. Be the wind beneath her wings. We educate our girls to give them an opportunity to realize their dreams, ambitions, to give them a chance to accomplish their goals. What a waste it would be if their gender is the only reason for holding them back.
Incase of nuclear families where in the advent of a child often requires the woman to stay at home, we need to teach the men to double the respect. It takes a lot of sacrifice to wrap up your dreams to make a house a home. Nurture and encourage the interests that keep her individuality alive, give her the space and time to do so without making her feel that she has to compensate for them.
If we have changed, let the change be us, by us, for us. After all we need no permission from life.