Have you too heard a blanket statement? That working women can do whatever they want to and homemakers have to ask their spouses or in-laws. As far as what I have seen, it’s not true. Ability to earn wages won’t empower a women till societal mindset changes. When a man says he allows his wife to work after marriage, a dream gets crushed there only. “Allows to work”…. Are you getting my point?
Men even boast that she doesn’t work for money, I earn enough for managing our lifestyle and more. “She works so that she can keep herself busy” or something like “She works because she wants to spend time constructively” ? True Lies! Aren’t they?… Given a choice one would choose flexi working pattern, or get associated with a Non Profit. When you trades fixed clock hours for money, it means salary. A bigger Volini is “My wife earns yet we have agreed she doesn’t have to contribute towards monthly expenses. She saves it all for herself”. They mean ‘rainy day’, don’t they?
Independence is independent of earning power. Every woman who earns money is not independent. So, what exactly does the word mean? Let’s figure out different aspects that drives the change.
Decision Making & Inclusion:
Inclusion must like charity, begin at home. A daughter in law expects the level of inclusion that a daughter enjoys after marriage. Inclusion is a strong word. Even corporates recognize that employees feel more comfortable when they are ‘involved’ or ‘included’ in strategy making. As far as I understand, corporates are vast and diverse. So if corporations can attempt to include everyone irrespective of background, race, ethnicity etc., why is it so tough to include women of the house in the decisions that are been taken. The water must trickle from glaciers to sea. Generation to generation. The older generations need to pass it on as a legacy. ‘Hamare yaha bahu iss barey mein nahi bolti’. This must change. Elders have to set an example. I have seen so many working women who earn decent paychecks. Sadly, they have minimal say in how that money gets spent. Horror is, sometimes they are not even asked their opinion on critical decisions viz. which school do kids attend. In contrast, there are so many homemakers who contribute equally in running the home responsibilities and participate in decision making. Hence, is it not safe to assume that money earned by woman doesn’t actually liberate them?
Giving equal status to the woman of the house doesn’t necessarily come from educational or financial background. I recall an a decade old memory to drive this home. I used to start for work, abnormally early, at about 6:20 AM. Every morning our office bus would pass a colony of laborers where I noticed a a family of a man, woman and child. The woman used to bathe the kid and get him ready while the man used to prepare chapatti and sabzi on an earthen choolha. The partnership requires more than college degree to culminate into a relationship. It needs accepting what each partner can humanly contribute, over a sustained period of time.
On the contrary, one of my ex-bosses was apparently not treated ‘equally’ by her husband. He used to give her 100-200 bucks towards daily expenses and her bank cards were retained by him. She was not expected to go anywhere, except going to work and coming back home. Or even allowed to learn driving as that would make her more ‘independent’. What kind of mindset are we seeing? I am not saying every woman has this kind of life but many do. The literacy has failed to impart education.
We as a society and every family must give due attention, acceptability and rights to every woman of the house. Boys have not seen it while growing up so they don’t think it is important to include the wife. Similarly, a girl perhaps never saw her mom participating in decision making. Hence, she is ok not being pulled in for ‘contribution’. One of the basic human needs are appreciation and recognition. So women, irrespective of whether they earn for the family or not should be involved, must be given her due rights. And believe me, everyone knows with rights come responsibilities. This goes beyond Superman as well!
At least in the 21st century, don’t ask the woman to sign on blank cheuqes on her pay day. Don’t make them request their family member to let them go to their mom’s place. Don’t compel them to come back early post maternity. Let them decide. A happy woman gives a happy family and they in turn stitch a happy society.
Don’t you really think it’s time to change?
We have to accept women as equal partners within our family before fighting for equal rights and equal pay at the world level. Don’t wait for the society to change overnight, it has to begin with you.
Even women who let things go without taking a stand must understand they are not setting right examples for their sons and daughters. Only if women promise today that twenty odd years later, they would not repent for keeping mum when they really must have spoken, then my apologies for wasting your seven precious minutes in reading this.
Our sons and daughters. They are watching us. Everything that we do. Remember, The water must trickle from glaciers to sea. Today, the glacier that’s new- is you!