No one likes household duties. Cleaning, washing and cooking are rarely fun affairs for people. But it becomes even more boring and a huge burden when a single gender is forced to do all the housework. This is what happens after marriage in our society. Women are expected to devote themselves to housework, leaving behind their job, ambitions, and even individuality. It is not shocking then that single women who are empowered and self-sufficient are not ready to sign up for this unfair and unpaid labour that might rob them of the dreams they preserved for years.
Just yesterday, a friend of mine said that his mother prioritises housework over everything while commenting on my mother’s apparent negligence towards the same because of her engagement in business. At that time, the only thought that came to my mind was ‘Thank God I am not a wife or a mother.’
But is it right that women only hate marriage because of its unfair division of labour? Should the institution of marriage be judged on the basis of gender inequality in it?
Not every single woman is apprehensive about marriage. Many have dreams about their wedding and the prince charming. Many women like the idea of marriage because of its companionship, longevity and compatibility. But this dream suddenly fades away when women are reminded about the unfair service they will be expected to provide to their in-laws and husbands. No matter how educated and empowered a woman is, performing housework for free is considered their primary duty.
Single women and marriage: How chores are a dealbreaker
Ask any single woman, one of the most common deterrents when it comes to marriage is the burden of housework. No woman wants to sign up for a relationship in which they are reduced to a multitasking machine that serves and takes care of everyone except themselves.
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Marriage rarely happens because a man needs a life partner. It happens because the house needs another woman to take care of it. I have often heard mothers saying that once their sons get married, they will be free from the duties of the home. Families do not bring home an equal member but a domestic aide who is responsible to take care of the entire house.
Why would any independent woman volunteer to work day and night and receive no pay or remuneration? Who will want to put their jobs, personal lives and individuality on the back burner, that too, in return of zero acknowledgement ? I as a single woman would never do that.
However, whenever single women point out at the unfair division of chores in a marriage, they are shamed for being lazy and irresponsible. But why doesn’t society understand that we single women are not against housework in general but the housework that is unfairly burdened on women alone? We want a marriage in which both partners encourage and help each other in their work.
It is just unfair that many single women are forced to give up their dreams of getting married because of the inequality lurking in the way most Indian households function.
Views expressed are the author’s own.