Millions of qualified women have to sit at home after marriage and especially after motherhood because it is difficult for them to leave the house. Work from home then becomes a convenient option for such women, to not only put their skills to good use, but it also enables them to be financially independent. The Hindu reports that the government is working on schemes to incentivise work-from-home jobs in the IT sector. It will be offering financial incentives to both employees and employers, creating employment opportunities in the IT/ITES industry, especially for women and differently-abled persons.
- Millions of qualified women have to sit at home after marriage and motherhood.
- Circumstances often get to working women and they end up quitting their jobs.
- Work from home will give these women a chance to put their skills to use again.
- Incentivising work from home is definitely a welcome move and a stepping stone in the empowerment of women
Child care and housekeeping largely remains a woman’s duty in our country even today. In fact, it is pitched as a matter of morality to women, to choose their home and children over work. An ideal Indian woman must always put her family first. She is also expected to perform most of the household chores single-handedly. She must keep the house clean, cook hot meals three times a day and tend to all the needs of her family members. Most married women in the middle class and well-to-do families get aid in form of maids. Which means that it is acceptable for them to manage homes along with their jobs, with hired help at disposal. However, things get complicated once they become mothers.
Orthodox families, which form a large part of Indian society, firmly disapprove of mothers who leave their young children in the care of a babysitter and go to work. Even when they do have that facility, the beast call work-life balance never gets off their back. As soon as they are back from the office, they must resume their duties as a homemaker and a mother. Such circumstances often get to women, and life as working women ends up becoming too stressful and exhausting for them. As a result of which women choose sanity and peace over using their hard-earned skills in return of a pay-check.
An IMF report says that India’s GDP will rise by 27% if there is gender parity in the workforce.
The result is that India is haemorrhaging women from the workforce with each passing year. Millions of talented women, who can put their skills to good use, are increasingly becoming financially dependent on their spouses. In the long-term, what needs to change is our society’s misogynist gaze towards women. It needs to stop putting women between rock and a hard place, telling them that they are under gendered obligation to give preference to their children and home over everything else. But until the society begins to treat men and women equally, and motivates the former to shoulder the responsibility of household chores as well, we can still strive to empower women in the confines of their homes.
In the long-term, what needs to change is our society’s misogynist gaze towards women.
So if women cannot step out to work, why not take the work to them? Work from home is not only convenient, but it is also time-saving. You don’t have to spend time commuting to and from your workplace. It saves money on travel and is good for the environment too. Plus, it is good for the country too. An IMF report says that India’s GDP will rise by 27% if there is gender parity in the workforce. But above everything else, it gives women a chance to keep working. It helps them to be financially independent even after being married or becoming a mum.
Being financially independent means that these women still have a say in their household, and can ensure a secure future for themselves, without being completely dependent on their partners. Also, work from home opportunities offer flexible timings, so that women can work according to their convenience.
Incentivising work from home is definitely a welcome move and a stepping stone in the empowerment of women in India. However, this isn’t the ultimate solution to the problem of gender bias in our country. Working from home doesn’t give them any respite from the unfair division of household labour that plagues our society. Creating awareness about equal division of labour and ending male entitlement is the next step.
Picture Credits: Home office careers
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.