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Unpaid Housework: Should You Defend It?

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“What on earth is this “unpaid housework” that some women keep cribbing about? You want to get paid to take care of your OWN house and raise your OWN kids?” asked a Twitter user on Tuesday evening. While the Twitter timeline throws a barrage of information at you in a span of less than ten minutes, this particular tweet caught my eye. I hoped it was just a piece of sarcasm because you don’t expect well-educated people with a progressive approach to say something like this.

Today, globally we are dealing with the issue of unpaid housework where women lose most of their time, effort and energy doing household chores all their lives and left feeling unaccomplished. Closer home in India, in most marriages, the typical setting is such that men go out and do paid work and women sit at home to do unpaid household chores. Of course, it is changing, where we do see women go out and work too but they are almost always expected to do most of the household chores as well. It is no joke when Indra Nooyi herself admitted to have brought the milk home when her mother asked her to instead of her husband who had arrived earlier. Nooyi had just become the president of PepsiCo when this incident occurred.

Nooyi told this story to exemplify why women cannot have it all. The crux of it is that women can go out and do paid work but they will have to come back and do the unpaid work as well because nobody is going to take care of that.

Anybody who reduces the amount of unpaid household work a woman does in her lifetime to “basic life skill” that doesn’t hold value needs to come out of the bubble of prejudices and privileges and have a look at their own mothers. And if their mothers luckily didn’t have to do as much housework, then have a look at their domestic help who will do the same work at their place for money that she does at her own house without any pay or help

ALSO READ: Women’s Unpaid Work Must Be Part Of GDP Calculations

Another Twitter user rightly pointed out, “’Unpaid work’ & it’s dismissal in a flawed process to assess GDP, economy, and work is something that has caused acute inequalities, gender inequities, and associated social evils.”

You don’t have to look farther than your own homemaker mother who feels unaccomplished because she does not go out and earn money while doing all of the work at home. Stay-at-home women face the brunt of it the most when they kill their desires to pursue a hobby or a job but they have to forcefully restrict themselves to doing unpaid household chores. Often a case in the Indian patriarchal society.

Anybody who reduces the amount of unpaid household work a woman does in her lifetime to “basic life skill” that doesn’t hold value needs to come out of the bubble of prejudices and privileges and have a look at their own mothers. And if their mothers luckily didn’t have to do as much housework, then have a look at their domestic help who will do the same work at their place for money that she does at her own house without any pay or help.

You can read the Twitter thread here.

Picture credit- Inter Press Service

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