Indian women career and life balance. It is not easy being a career-oriented woman in our society. With the burden of household chores steadfastly resting on our shoulders, women have to work twice as hard, and put in double the time and energy to strike work-life balance. But the worst part is, despite the effort that we put in and no matter how impressive our paycheck is, the society often reminds women that our careers are less important than that of men.
Indian society still adheres to a clear-cut division of duties on basis of genders in households. Man brings food to the table, woman cooks it, serves it and then cleans up the remainder, once everyone is done eating. Thus, in most households, men are the primary breadwinners, while women are the primary caregivers. This mindset breads a frivolous attitude towards working women and their career ambitions.
A woman’s career is often seen more as a hobby, or a self-centred act on her part. She either has time on her hand and needs a job to pass it, or she needs additional money to spend on herself.
Why else would a woman, well-provided either by her father or husband, neck deep in child care and household duties, want to work?
The problem is that in Indian society, all notions around one’s professional career, even for men, revolve around earning money. Indian parents willingly ignore their child’s passion and interests and push them towards streams that will earn them a big paycheck. Even if a person does choose a profession based on their interest, their choice isn’t approved by the society unless they achieve “success” in it- by earning money, fame or both.
Keeping this in mind, the trivial attitude towards women’s careers doesn’t come across as surprising. The society always demands a justification from us if we want our own paychecks. Doesn’t your husband earn enough? Do you feel bored and lonely, now that your kids and husband aren’t home all day long? Is this another way to indulge one of your hobbies?
Because of this attitude, society also expects women to aim for less in their careers. Time pass hi to hai, don’t invest so much into your job. Koi zarurat nahi promotion lene ki, it will shift your focus from your family. No need to go above and beyond for work, shadi ke baad to waise bhi job chhodna hi hai.
Unless you are a brilliant scientist, pathbreaking entrepreneur, a doctor with a trail of degrees to back you name or a gifted artist whose talent has found recognition, your career will always be treated as dispensable. Having said that, even the women who check the abovementioned criterions will tell you how they have to prove their mettle again and again, and again, simply because people refuse to take them seriously due to their gender.
Honestly, there is no one-point solution to this problem. The attitude towards women’s career and professional aspirations, especially once they are married, won’t change unless our outlook towards gender and gendered duties does.
Views expressed are the author’s own.