It’s not an easy task to build a career, manage the complexities of raising children, and run a household, all at the same time. Women, however, do this all the time. But isn’t this something that is supposed to be a shared responsibility? While a few men support the ideology of shared responsibility, the age-old notions still lead to women taking up the maximum responsibility of their homes.

Studies reveal that despite working more, millennial women are still doing maximum housework, and this is prevalent everywhere.

Although younger women are working longer hours and earning more than before, they’re still carrying the larger share of responsibility at home

It won’t be incorrect to say that there are several millennial households which agree with the idea of equality and are open to adopt equal views about gender. This, however, is limited to just a thought-process and does not often reflect in practice.

  • A study shows that even if men and women think of to splitting household duties and income equally, these ideas and promises often get derailed because of the age-old gender stereotypes.
  • Research reveals that on an average day, only 19 per cent of men reported doing housework like laundry, cleaning and other tasks, compared to 49 per cent of women.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend more time every day performing household chores and hardly get any relief to spend time on their personal needs.

Despite several attempts and campaigns to champion equality, it’s unfortunate that when it comes down to practising equality, most men are not willing to walk the talk.

Studies show that about 40 per cent of employees have children at home, and 17 per cent of them do not benefit from any kind of support of a partner in juggling work-life balance. While balancing work and family is a consideration and an issue for both women and men, women continue to bear the burden in all aspects.

It’s a given fact that women, across all races and ethnicities, are more likely to perform most or all of the household responsibilities, apart from their day jobs. While patriarchy and several other stigmas are still prevalent, there is one factor that can address this concern at large – workplace flexibility.

With more work increasing at the workplace, there’s an added responsibility for women to manage household work alone

According to the Pew Research Center, 78 per cent of young adult women worked at least 50 weeks per year in 2017. This is an increase from 2000’s figure of 72 per cent of employed young women.

Women are getting paid more, but definitely not equal

Women getting paid more is resulting in more contribution towards household income. Now, even though women contribute more to household income than before, they’re still  doing most of the unpaid domestic work.

Coming to men, yes, they are working more, too. However, we don’t need the study to show that men also get to spend more time than women enjoying other leisure activities, and working on themselves.

Assuming that household responsibility is only limited to women’s lives will never address core issues and, thus, will never lead to progression

The traditional gender divide is everywhere, regardless of cultures. Women, everywhere, have been working much more harder than men, at home or at the workplace. What’s also true is that women, everywhere, have not been benefiting any which way despite all the hard work and credibility.

What married women in India have to say

Shweta Goyal, a college professor in Rudrapur, says she has long been bearing the brunt of patriarchal norms despite her education and her husband’s understanding. “You know, it’s easier to talk about equality but more complicated when we come down to practice it. I hold a PhD and have been teaching professionally for almost a decade now, but the amount of household work I take on has been the same, in fact it has only increased with time,” she shares.

Just your husband understanding the meaning of equality will not make a huge difference, it’s families and societies which collectively need to comprehend this ideology and practice it. – says Sunita Joshi, a banker in Nainital

Vineeta Sharma, a cafe-owner in Haldwani, believes childcare and household chores are entirely a woman’s responsibility in the Indian society. “I work day and night in managing the food business, but eventually when I’m home it’s only I who has to take the children for their swimming classes, tuitions etc. Homework, too, comes down to a mother’s responsibility. These talks about women benefitting from equality do not apply in small towns here. Most men are so deep rooted with the mindset of patriarchy and stereotyped gender roles that they act without reason.”

Fortunately, there is a ray of hope as some women, if not many, are relieved when it comes to household responsibilities. “I married only recently and my husband and I work in the same firm. We travel together from home to work and return at the same time. He understands the pressure I deal with at work and therefore there’s an understanding between us. We split work at home and the chores are taken care of well, thereby,” says Sneha Desai, an engineer in Gurugram.

There’s a long way to get to a point when it’ll be perceived as a normal thing for women and men to perform household chores equally, and it’s not happening anytime soon. – Apoorva Agarwal, a management consultant in Delhi.

“Women are inventing great things and running companies, but they are still expected to come back home and cook for their families, and then wrap up other miscellaneous work, while others in the house relax. I have been doing it and questioning it the same time. There is house help and despite this, we women are expected to supervise alone.  It’s such an annoying ideology and it turns out that it’s women who have to fight this battle,” says Tarana Kohli, an HR professional in Mumbai.

What single women have to say

“I work damn hard at work and I’m not going to bear the brunt of what societies believe women should or should not do. My husband and I are going to share equal responsibility and that’s what will make the difference”

Banker Apoorva Joshi says she, as it is, dislikes performing household chores and just because she will soon be getting married and moving to another house does not mean she’ll compromise on her thought-process.

“It’s all about choice and that is the belief I’m going to stick with regardless”

I did not grow up in a very equal environment, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to carry forward this unreasonable legacy and ideology of inequality when I’m married. It’s all about choice and that is the belief that I’m going to stick with regardless – Aman Dhanda, a soon-to-be-married executive.

We’re constantly talking about an ideal world: a world where everyone is treated fairly and equally. But, time and again, we constrain ourselves from achieving that ideal space. If we are to attain this  egalitarian way of life, we have to eradicate the age-old stereotypes that allow men to sit back and relax while the women are working endlessly in all departments. And, we need to enable this by first educating ourselves and then by raising gender neutral children to make this society fairer than ever before.

Also Read: Why Organisations Must Ensure Hiring & Promotions Are Fair

More stories by Bhawana

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.