As more women are stepping out of their homes to chase their goals, we are in dire need of dads embracing household chores. With Father’s Day around the corner, most of us need a gentle reminder that the word father isn’t just synonymous with the parent who puts bread and butter on the table. In most Indian families, daddies are the prime breadwinners and mommies the prime care givers. But today, most women are challenging these age-old patriarchal norms by stepping out of homes to chase professional careers. But they still have to be the primary care givers at home.
For married women in India to succeed in their professional lives, it is essential that they are relieved of some burden of household duties. Thus it is about time that Indian dads start pitching in to taking care of home and children.
Equality in responsibilities
According to an OECD survey, Indian women spend an average of five hours and 51 minutes daily on chores like cleaning, shopping and caring for children.
Indian men, on the other hand, spend only 52 minutes contributing to this unpaid labour
Whether women earn or not, they don’t get the liberty of procrastinating when it comes to household duties. Working women have to spend whatever time they have after office hours, cleaning, organising and maintaining the household, and of course doing motherly duties. This unfair distribution of workload is harming their well-being and they feel constantly under stress and exhausted.
It seems like it is a bigger struggle for women to convince men to pitch in for household work, than to step out for a job. This reluctance is a result of our patriarchal system which makes men feel emasculated if they ever touch a dirty dish with soap laden foam or pick up a broom to sweep the house. From doing laundry to cooking meals, household jobs still essentially remain women’s chores. This toxic male attitude is now putting a lot of strain on modern Indian marriages.
A survey conducted by The Swaddle reported that the issue of chores and tidiness is the third-most common cause of fights among couples
Most men now feel pressured into contributing to household work. But the desire to share this burden of unpaid labour should come from within, and not be forced down the throats of modern dads.
Dad’s duty to lead by example and impart equality lesson to his kids
Most modern daddies, even in India, are slowly coming around to embracing the duties of parenthood. Whether it is cleaning stinky little tushies to bottle feeding hungry little ones, dads are more devoted to fatherhood today than ever before. One of this dad duties is to instill the belief of gender equality in the future generation.
Daddies must make sure that our next generation is more open to equality in all aspects of life than us. All boys and girls need to learn that household duties cannot be divided on basis of gender. This burden fell mostly on women because men were encouraged by our patriarchal society to venture out of home and earn a living and hence women got stuck at home. But today, women are earning money too. The size of the pay cheques is smaller than that of men in most cases. However, the effort put in is equal. Then why should they singularly take care of household chores? Is the size of the pay cheque a controlling factor here? Is there no value to the amount of hard work they put in?
We have seen a considerable drop in number of women in workforce in India. The chief reasons are gender pay gap and the unending pile of household work which awaits them once they get home
If only men lend a helping hand, women would not only perform better at jobs, but earn more. This would eventually mean a bigger income and better future for the family.
There is much to be earned if fathers begin to contribute to household duties. All that stand in the way are social stigma and ego. But if we want a more balanced future, we need to have generation built on principles of equality. Being a dad no longer means bringing in the biggest pay cheque in the family or making all the economic decisions in the household. It also doesn’t mean making a big deal out of cleaning the car or changing a light bulb. It means sharing the responsibilities with your partner and imparting correct values to your children by breaking gender stereotypes.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own