#Opinion

Pay Women For Housework: Why Is This A Debate?

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The Indian society with its stereotypes and traditional values have reduced women to work day and night feeding the family pertaining to its needs. The cult of Indian domesticity has idealised women for their chastity and purity, bounding them to four walls where families are not spaces for equals.

Indian society and its virtues of an “Ideal Woman”

Women remaining behind the curtain into the shadows of traditional family values have continued to respect the stereotypes through generations by inculcating the values they received from their elders into their young ones. What makes it even worse that they hardly get any compensation or remuneration for their hard work and efforts, neither in monetary terms nor in terms of any recognition or respect.

Women who work bear the responsibilities of the household as well as their job profile, there seems no escape from the domestic world for them at all while men enjoy the privilege of abandoning the responsibility as per their convenience without being objected to.

Housework: A source of economy?

The first of May is celebrated as the May Day, a day celebrated in the honour of labour yet we never even thank the women of our own house for the unconditional labor they put in for the family’s well-being. So, shall women be compensated for their labor of love in terms of pay? It seems only fair if we think about it.

Paying salaries for household work will only help the housewives to be independent, self-confident and respected with recognition and dignity for years of work.

In an economical view, the services rendered by a homemaker do not account to the GDP of a country simply because it is unpaid even though she is contributing to the economy. How ironic it is that even a ragpicker or a garbage collector is given a fixed wage but women are expected to work endlessly to cater to the stereotypes and conventional practices set to favour the deep rooted patriarchy as if it’s the only thing they’re born to do.

From the moment they are born, women are supposed to be submissive to the patriarchal norms by being the lesser and weaker sex. Right from their childhood, they are “trained” to be good housewives, good daughters, good mothers and good partners where “good” essentially stands for being subjected and compliant.

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Dear mom, I wish you didn’t have to leave your job to raise your children.

While marriage sees both, a man and a woman, as equal partners, the housewife doesn’t seem to have much of a say in most decisions pertaining to the household in reality. They must obey to what the husband demands and instructs while being reduced to the status of a mere helper. As for their discretion, they are subjected to the likes and dislikes of the family members. Keeping this in mind, even though paying a minimum wage or salary for the services of homemakers might seem a good idea, it only promotes the gender stereotypes, disparity and inequality since the domestic arena consists mostly of women.

While money is what helps one gain respect and dignity in the world, it might not be enough to establish a status of recognition keeping in mind the gender roles and discrimination prevalent in the society. Empathy and comprehension are essential to understand the importance of the efforts put in by the housewives throughout their lives. It is important to understand that they are much more than just helpers in the backdrop of our self-absorbed life.

Why must homemaking be limited to women after all? Why can’t we normalise personal chores like cooking and cleaning as gender neutral?

Are men not competent to carry out their own daily chores or are they just too dependent on women for feeding their ego?

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