SC Reiterates Homemaker's Status But How Do We Quantify Her Value?

The Supreme Court of India asserted that the value of a woman's work at home is equal to that of someone earning a salary in an office. The question that remains is how do you quantify her value and will these rulings bring about any real impact on her status?

Mohua Chinappa
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The Supreme Court of India recently asserted that the contribution of a 'homemaker' is priceless, stating that the value of a woman's work at home is equal to that of someone earning a salary in an office. It also ruled out the term “housewives” to homemakers. But the question that remains is how do you quantify her value and will these rulings bring about any real impact on her status? The answer is no. 


A homemaker continues to remain unseen and unheard for most of her issues. Financial independence is one of the most unexpressed concerns that plague women who choose this role in a family structure. They remain unaware if they deserve any financial compensation ever. 

In spite of the bubbling kettle that seems to be spouting words like “value” with homemakers, women till date hesitatingly admit that they are always under the scanner for constant accountability in home budgets. They learn to live a life with a skewed struggle for money. Over time, they master the art of living apologetically for spending money. This is communicated in a language to them that is not always spoken in words, but reminds them regularly of how “difficult it is for a man to earn money, in the outside world." This is enough for women to cringe at the acceptable disrespect associated with their inability to earn. 

This is a statement that is casually thrown at them to reiterate their status of being of no value and to remain cautious of money that is given to them for the household. 

Are Homemakers Finding Their Voice? Yes. No. Maybe.

The majority of the homemakers have no voice or right of choice in the allocation of family wealth. The funds or the share in the family business, property or annual income is never kept aside for the benefit of her independence or financial security. Often she remains in the blind about wealth management within her own home. 

With this insensitivity towards her expenses, very few homemakers can change their destiny to become economically independent. There is no law yet for a substantial amount that must be chalked out for her if she wishes to start a small business on the side, save for a rainy day or maybe help her ageing parents. As a homemaker, she is expected to resign to a life of financial bullying and accept her incapability to help her own birth family. The memes and jokes are in plenty of women being pleased with shopping and always irate husbands who don't know how to control their ill-managed financial consumerist character. 


The change in the term homemaker definitely makes her feel more respected. It’s finally now not rhyming with housemaids and housewives. It is a more exalted pedestal she finds her foot on. The fuddy-duddy housewife needs to move over sans any real change. 

This is also the era of a feminist homemaker, where she sometimes voluntarily chooses to become the sole owner of all the responsibilities and accountability for her family. But there is a catch in this decision, that many young girls don’t see at the start of a relationship. No homemaker has yet been compensated financially for her non-stop work at home. In fact, she will be painted as a selfish woman if she asks for a share of the pie in the years ahead. 

As we all know, a home in a society has the significance of not just its chores, it is judged on the wealth and the success of the man within a family unit, which is also the responsibility of the homemaker. She needs to create an environment where everyone must thrive, over her needs and life ambitions. A financially unsuccessful husband means she has not walked in her home with “Lakshmi Feet”. 

As a homemaker for over a decade, to becoming a columnist, speaker, author, poet, voice-over artist and podcaster, the journey was rife with indecisiveness and self-doubt. It also meant wearing a bulletproof vest for the jibes made by close friends and family, reminding me of my insignificance in a professional environment. I was viewed as a homemaker who couldn’t think beyond gluten-free cake and dal recipes. Therefore for me to come up with a career recipe was viewed as a joke and a daydream that I maybe nurtured like a fool. 

But I wasn’t the one to give up. I knew that to change my situation, I must become resilient and consistent. 

I had days of feeling like a complete failure, as technology was difficult to embrace, due to its nature of constant upgrades, so I decided to learn as much as I could, in spite of my limitations. 


Having been a homemaker, I had gathered patience, which I used in the early days of my reboot journey during meetings for my podcast, The Mohua Show, which was running completely on technology. Words like algorithms, SEO and content creation left me feeling overwhelmed but over time, I embraced each hurdle, one story at a time. 

Talking to Dolon, (name changed) who resides in Bangalore said, “In my next life, I hope I have a good sense of not giving up my work and becoming dependent, financially and emotionally on my spouse, who has no interest to including me in his changed lifestyle of success and confidence of his career. I feel discarded and have no outlet to express my emotions with anyone within my family circle or friends.” 

Homemakers like Dolon are aplenty. But few have the courage to speak up against this patriarchal system, that thrives on a woman’s sacrifices and financial subjugation for an entire lifetime. 

With my reboot, I wish to create an example for more homemakers that anything is possible if you set your heart to your vision and decide to make it happen. The court verdict will surely sensitise families, but the resistance to changing the age-old system of homemakers who have never been compensated will be a humongous hurdle to overcome. 

It was extremely hard to reboot but I have never been more content in my life than what I am currently working towards; an example of age being only a number and where more homemakers in their later years must not feel obsolete with themselves if they have a dream to fulfil.

There are 169 million homemakers in India and I represent them in all my successes, tears of joy, sadness and life experience. 

Mohua Chinappa is an ex-homemaker turned author and runs a podcast called The Mohua Show.

Views expressed are the author's own.

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