#Opinion

Motherhood And Economy: Do We Talk About It Enough?

women feel guilty, balance between family and career
Motherhood and Economy: Every woman who gets married is told that motherhood is the essence of womanhood. A woman fulfils the purpose of her existence by embracing motherhood and devoting herself to the care of the child. But what no one tells the women and mothers is that mothers are strong economic forces too. That mothers play a vital role in driving the economy of the country.

Every morning Savita wakes up and prepares food for the entire family. She is always careful about the number of spices she adds to the food because spicy food can affect her family’s health and budget. Along with spices, she also keeps a check on the entire budget of the house to lessen the burden on her husband.

Savita is always the first one to wake up, clean and pack tiffins for her husband and children. She never forgets to wish good luck to her husband for his day in his office. She wants her children to grow up into employed engineers and doctors who can contribute something to society. Although Savita could never seek employment, she is happy to see her husband and children grow and makes sure they don’t lack any support.

On the other hand, Arpita, a single mother and single breadwinner of the house, loves her job as a beautician in a parlour near her house. Walking out of a failed marriage, she worked really hard to gain herself an education and a job. She also has a daughter and makes sure that she uses her earnings to provide a better upbringing and education to her. For her, motherhood is a job too of raising better individuals who can contribute to the betterment of society.

In our society motherhood is understood only in terms of selfless service. As a mother, a woman is expected to devote herself completely to the care of the child. We all have grown up reading stories about sacrificial mothers who are ready to give up anything for the sake of the child. But mothers’ own development and value as an individual, their economic and social independence are never brought to attention.

We live in a society where women willingly or forcefully quit their jobs after marriage or motherhood. Mothers are never seen as a part of the economy but as a part of the home and its issues. While economic roles are reserved for fathers who hence are perceived to be the “real” parent of the child.

But now it is time to open our eyes and see that mothers too drive the economy.

Mothers strengthen the upbringing of children which later leads to the formation of strong economic forces to push the growth of the economy. A properly educated child will seek employment and hence contribute to the country’s economy. Studies have also shown that educated mothers raise educated and healthy children.

Moreover, Mothers also contribute to housework and care work which are crucial to maintaining the growth and success in the country’s economy. Just imagine, if there was no one at home caring about your regular meals and sickness, would you ever be able to perform well at your work? Mothers contribute to the economy by managing the budget of the family too.

Furthermore, mothers who are employed or run a business further help in building a healthy economy. Mothers who are breadwinners or co-breadwinners can not only maintain the financial stability of the house but of the country too. It is estimated that women contribute 17 per cent of the GDP in India. If female labour force participation is increased, women can add up to USD 700 billion to country’s GDP by 2025. If only society lets mothers step out and work, the economy could see new heights. And if the economy of a country improves, the citizens of the country also develop.

But in October 2020, mothers were three times more likely than fathers to not be able to work during COVID-19 due to school or child care closure. Even today, housework and care work is taken for granted and defined as women’s job. Women spend 19.5 per cent of their time in unpaid care work as opposed to just 2.5 per cent of the time that men spend.

So it is high time we stop envisioning motherhood as a saga of sacrifice. We need to redefine and hence value the economic role of motherhood too. The first towards which is to value the housework and care work that mothers perform. If we can’t pay for it, then at least we need to understand its importance and support it. Secondly, we need to accept mothers who are the breadwinners of the family. Rather than shaming them for not devoting themselves to their “real” job, we need to understand how their working status is helping the family and country.

Views expressed are author’s own