More and more women are encouraged to join the workforce, praised for doing so, and expected to juggle multiple responsibilities with elan. But there’s not much give — women can often feel burdened by the pressures at work and at home. Exploitation, some would say!
These days, both men and women work in the same fishbowl environment. While the men are often free to unwind after work, network if they want to, socialise or not, women grapple with the constant pressure of not deviating from their domestic duties. This difference in the amount of mental and physical rest that men and women get is the leisure gap. It makes me wonder what kind of empowerment the society talks about?
This difference in the amount of mental and physical rest that men and women get is the leisure gap.
It’s probably no coincidence that working women now face myriad stress-related health problems like heart-attacks, hypertension, diabetes and ulcers. These problems partially stem from the fact that today’s women are overworked, tired and emotionally drained, and always on the go.
Why is it so challenging for society to erase the domesticated image of a woman they have been holding on for so long? For the woman to progress in the real sense, people around will have to work hard on altering their mindsets. Here is a wishlist that could make a huge difference!
The family needs to adjust to the changing role of women and volunteer to share household work. Unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. They deserve sufficient time to relax and recharge her jaded batteries.
Workplaces can do their bit by introducing part-time and flexi-time work facilities and work from home opportunities to avoid their burnout. Organising yoga-sessions, aerobics and meditation classes are great ways to ensure women get their dose of energy and positive vibes required to tackle multiple jobs.
Women should stop feeling guilty of things that are beyond their control. I know this is the tough one. Guilt is emotional baggage many working moms are more than familiar with. But for so many women, the dream of becoming a super-woman who combines multiple roles with carefree confidence is futile. There is more to life than appeasing almost everyone present around you or trying to fulfil everyone’s expectations. (Bonus feel good point: You are amazing the way you are. Do not let society’s expectations cripple you.)
Find a healthy network of women: mentors who can help guide you and peers who can help create a support system. It’s almost as important to know you’re not alone in facing these challenges, as it is to know where to draw the line, or rather how to do so. How can you prioritise yourself, as well as household, family and work duties and responsibilities? What are some time management tricks you can learn? How can you learn to delegate better? These are all aspects on which a healthy network can help you work out — though of course there is no one size fits all.
Views expressed are personal.