Isn’t home the workplace for homemakers? How then these women are different from ‘professionals’? Recent Anand Mahindra’s tweet on working women made me think and ask some questions.

Anand Mahindra Twiter Women Struggles
(Anand Mahindra’s Tweet used a Whatsapp forward image, he tweets calling it the Whatsapp Wonderbox)

My simple query is ‘Why is there no inclusion of wives (as stakeholder) of a husband working with company,’ in CSR definition. There is a reason behind this. I have suffered on many accounts.

I am a 1983 Chemical Engineering graduate, I was forced to leave my job about 35 years ago to fulfil the demands of a patriarchal family. I have been volunteering with various NGO in different roles, finishing my PG in Development Management in 2017 at the age of 55. I am a small town girl, who topped her science section in the district during the seventies. I would not have suffered had I not been forced to be a submissive woman. But eventually, I did not submit to the evils of society.

After finishing my PG, I joined organisations to sustain myself with dignity while fighting court cases to claim my rights. All through I wanted to know how a homemaker’s contribution is quantified. Why law mostly addresses the issues of working women? Was domestic sexual abuse not a part of the harassment women faced all around? Was all that many women faced like me, not a punishable crime?

Why law mostly addresses the issues of working women? Was domestic sexual abuse not a part of the harassment women faced all around?

In the meantime, I became a certified counsellor, offering support to women who survived domestic abuse and are dealing with mental issues/taboos. Most of them are not even aware of the symptoms.

We only talk about the problem, but what about the solution? When will this mindset change? Will the stigma and taboo that loom large ever be destroyed? While doing my PGPDM, I often thought, can management principles be taught in some module for homemakers?

As much as we talk about women empowerment, barely even a part of it is workable in reality. A lot of it is a facade to show that our society is concerned about the rights of a woman when in actuality it is not.

Only a minor percentage of women know what to do when a crisis strikes them. Homemakers are the unsung leaders (they are unglorified managers, maids, cooks, financiers at home, with no say), who, most often are left to suffer on their own.

Vishakha guidelines are for females at the workplace who can use the rights given to them for addressing their grievances. Corporate organisations are only bothered about numbers and business profits. The definition of CSR in corporate organisations is flawed because homemakers are the major stakeholders.

Homemakers are the unsung leaders (they are unglorified managers, maids, cooks, financiers at home, with no say), who, most often are left to suffer on their own.

As per the ILO report, any homemaker who works for more than five hours is a professional. However, she has to fight for her identity and dignified maintenance with no financial support for years. Digging deep into the law and various acts, I found out that we are still governed by 100-year-old laws.

Power, position, money plays the game when it comes to women seeking justice for their rights. Law, unfortunately, is for people who are morally scrupulous and crooks with money and power get away. Media covers them on front pages, they wear the mask of good Samaritans, which pampers their inflated ego with high social positions.

As per the ILO report, any homemaker who works for more than five hours is a professional.

I think it is high time that women are taught law and finance subject which must be made mandatory along with other subjects. Having Gender Neutral Laws is the need of the hour where everybody is accountable.

Women get fleeced of their self, dignity, money, trust and from their own people and nothing changes. In some cases, even if she is strong enough to fight for her rights, she has severe challenges to face and her life is under threats.

Homemakers are misused and cheated and robbed of their sanity by husbands, lawyers, courts, police, etc. Can anyone be accountable for her rights, for the uncountable hours of pain she is suffering? Can anyone give a solution to her problems for which she has to fight for decades?

The wait has been long, but I have not given up. Asking for justice and the right to live with dignity from courts, I hope to get justice in this lifetime.

Trying to be the change…

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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