It’s a meme that not only breaks stereotypes but also put the harsh reality of working women under spotlight. The image in question showed how working women have no respite from household duties, which become a hurdle in their professional progress. This image according to me was one of the best memes we have see this year. In February this year, Industrialist and philanthropist Anand Mahindra shared this image on social media that spoke louder than words, as to how ruthless patriarchal norms are towards working women.

One of the biggest stereotypes that working women have to deal with is that they are either “bad” housekeepers or outsource their chores altogether. This stigma couldn’t be farther from truth. In most Indian households where women step out to work, the burden of whatever chores that need to be taken care of largely falls on them. Especially in middle-class homes, where hired help is a luxury, women can only afford to outsource the most strenuous and time consuming of chores, like cleaning the floor and utensils or having a cook. But is that all there is to household chores?

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • Industrialist Anand Mahindra shared a meme in the early part of 2019, that put the struggles of working women in focus.
  • Women have to bear the burden of household duties in our society.
  • A working woman thus has to juggle both duties at home and work, there is just no respite for her.
  • Women often drop out of the workforce or settle for less than they deserve because this multitasking becomes too much to handle

Also Read: No, Married Working Women Don’t Spend All Their Money On Themselves

There is a pile of work, that is curiously not enough considered a chore by those who are entitled to not have to perform them. Putting a load of laundry in washing machine, hanging the clothes out to dry, folding them and putting them back in the cupboard. And what about dusting furniture or cleaning the glass windows of your home or organising various cupboards in your home, replenishing grocery and cleaning the fridge? How many men help out with these chores at homes, on daily basis? Besides, women are also the primary caregivers to children and elderly at home. Which means that they have ensure that homework gets done, the uniform is pressed, the medications needed are in stock.

Also Read: Textbooks break myths that women alone do chores

Do we ever stop to think how these seemingly trivial household duties take a toll on working women, both physically and mentally? Is it a wonder then that every year numerous educated, talented and deserving women drop out if Indian workforce? As a result of this, fewer women make it to the end of the hurdle race that this picture realistically portrays.

This picture also presents the solution to us. Level the playing field, and dear men it is you who need to do that. The only way to remove those hurdles from front of women is to put them in front of yourself. Household chores aren’t going anywhere, they need to be taken care of. But clearly it shouldn’t be one person’s responsibility to take care of them, that too because of their gender. When the burden of household chores lessens on women, they’ll not feel cornered or exhausted, and thus they wouldn’t have to drop out of the workforce.

Are working men ready to be better colleagues? Are industries sincerely trying to find ways they can retain their female employees? Are men in the upper echelons of power ready to open the space for women?

Any woman who is good are work, and is able to give her hundred percent to it will perform well and thus will bring in more earnings into the house. As much as I know, that is never a bad thing. However, there is another aspect to this battle of genders at work, which happens in the office. Are working men ready to be better colleagues? Are industries sincerely trying to find ways they can retain their female employees? Are men in the upper echelons of power ready to open the space for women?

One hopes that the discussion that began in the early part of this year has prompted many to think over this unjust division of chores and how it makes the lives of working women tough, will begin showing some positive results in the coming year. Well if you haven’t begun thinking about, the year isn’t over and it is never too late to start.

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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