Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Nita's post 'Women at Work', made me ponder on women working in India - how equal are we?

Women have been working for ages in India - as domestic helps or doing manual labour. How do we classify this? Are these women not forced to work in order to earn a living? When we talk about feminism - where do these women figure? Are they liberated or are they being used?
I used to have a maid servant who had a husband who used to turn up just once in a while to beat her up and take any money that he could lay his hands on.. It used to make my heart break to listen to her. Despite all that, she was determind to try and get her daughter and son educated - so that at least they have a chance at a better life!

Even in case, of educated working women, how many of us have husbands who help us out at home? Even if they do - the main responsibility seems to lie on the women. Why is it, that true equality is just not happening? It is assumed that everything related to 'home' is the women's responsibility - so what if she has an equally , if not more challenging job outside! There was one time, when my own husband - who is extremely lazy, was lying in bed when I got back from work - and I had just sat down, to take a breather - when he said - ' You are sitting down? - can't you see, I am hungry!' That made me see RED!!! I was like, 'oh really? Well I am certainly not cooking anymore- If you are hungry make something yourself!' Anyways, that resulted in my husband getting hold of a cook the very next day- which certainly made our lives much easier - but the unfairness of it still irks me - and I have still not stopped reminding him:)

So is 'working women' in any form - a liberation? I would think so in a lot of ways , and again in a lot of ways, the true liberation is to be able to decide when you want to work and when you want to stay at home. To be fair to my husband - he has always been supportive of me in my decisions to work or not to work. When I was working - he was always supportive, and when after 8 yrs of working , when I wanted to be a stay at home mum to my 1.5 yr old - he was equally supportive. To think of it, I do feel liberated that I have the choice - unlike so many of our fellow women - who have to work, whether they like it or not.


Vinod_Sharma said...

I agree when you say true liberation is to be able to decide when you want to work and when you want to stay at home...that is only possible if you have financial freedom. Otherwise, you have to work out of necessity, not choice, as women have been working for ages in many parts of rural and even urban India.

Smitha said...

Welcome to my blog, Vinod. Yes, it is so true that all over India, women are the biggest neglected minority. I really wish our politicians would stop advocating reservations for women and try to go to the grassroots to improve women's status in India..

Indian Home Maker said...

Nice post ...

I agree with you Smitha. It's great for both the partners.

I know many women who are earning as much/more than their husbands and are perfectly bindaas about it, and that shows how our times are changing :)

One friend's husband has started a new venture, and that was only possible because he knew they would manage very well financially because she is doing so well! And once he has set up this business, they will both join his business, so I guess it is more of team work. Do you agree?

In this case she was not even confident enough to start working, but she was very keen, and he most encouraging. Then he supported her, now she is supporting him :)

Smitha said...

@IHM, I totally agree with you. Marriage has to be a true partnership - whether or not both spouses are working. And yes, today, a lot of men donot even think if their wives earn more than they do. The only thing is, that this is true, mainly in urban India.. Even in the smaller towns, I think, things are different. But yes, things are definitely changing - thank god for that!