Despite earning big paychecks and choosing partners who believe in equality, millennial working women are wearing themselves out. One would have thought that factors like equality in marriage and pay parity at workplace would help women lead a less laborious life, but it seems like better job prospects haven’t eased the burden of household chores off their shoulders. This means that millennial women are wearing themselves out heavily on two fronts now, instead of one. They work to earn money, but then they also come back home to a pile of household duties, with their name written on it.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Statistics say that 49% of women do household chores, as compared to 19% of men. 
  • One would have thought that factors like equality in marriage and pay parity at work would help women lead a less laborious life.
  • Better job prospects haven’t eased the burden of household chores off their shoulders.
  • Overworking leads to perpetual exhaustion, dissatisfaction in a relationship, depression, anxiety of falling behind.

According to the statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 49% of women reported to doing household chores, as compared to 19% of men.

Also, a report from the Pew Research Centre from 2017 says that the number of young adult women who worked at least 50 weeks per year has gone up from 72% in 2000, to 78% in 2018. So while more and more women are stepping out to work, earning substantial money and thus contributing to household finances, they are doing so along with performing tasks like washing dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc.

Do men tend to fall back on gendered privilege?

One doesn’t need to look at these figures to fully comprehend the reality. All you have to do is to look around and listen to working women, in your vicinity. Especially, in a deeply patriarchal society like ours, financial independence seldom translates into equal status at home. The husband still remains revered and supreme to a wife in our culture. Most people still frown at the sight of a married man performing simple household tasks as making tea. Thus despite earning a decent paycheck most modern wives are still expected to manage their household single-handedly.

The jobs cut out for a woman at home will mostly be the same. No matter if she earns one-third, one half or as much as her husband.

I am not saying that millennial men are lazy or that they do not help our their wives around the house at all. It’s just that temptation to reap benefits of male privilege is very hard to overcome. Why bother helping with the dishes day in day out, when you can play the patriarchal privilege card and relax? So, while men do participate in performing household chores, their participation is not as frequent or as much as that of their wives. Even if it starts out on equal footing, men have a tendency to slip back into old habits. There is another aspect to it, that of social pressure.

Not many applaud when a married man takes up cooking meals or cleaning the house, because his wife has to work late hours. Be it his peers or parents, he faces ridicule and pity from those around him. This is because according to them, doing chores at home is not a man’s job. What kind of man would willingly do laundry instead of lounging around on a Sunday morning? When patriarchy aims at men’s manhood, they begin doubting their own intentions.

The commitment to create a relationship based on parameters of equality takes a back seat, and men give in to the social pressure of playing with the ideas of being the ideal alpha male because if they don’t, it leads to a social and often a very public emasculation.

All these factors have ended up taking a toll on the millennial working women’s health and overall well-being. It leads to perpetual exhaustion, dissatisfaction in a relationship, depression, anxiety of falling behind or losing on all fronts and no time for self. Which is why women need to put their foot down and refuse to be strong-armed into overworking themselves to please patriarchal norms. They cannot do it alone, unless their partners are on the same page, this wear and tear will continue. It will eventually tire out women even in the prime of their lives. Thus husbands and male partners need to overcome their conditioning and the temptation to settle into old habits for the sake of love and their relationship. It will take an equal effort from both partners, to ensure that it isn’t society which calls the shots in your life, but you.

Also Read : What’s in a Name – Householder or Homemaker? And Who is to Say?

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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