Guest Article #51: For the Joy of Sharing

Status of Homemakers in India

By Khushi Modani
BBA Student, PES University, Bangalore, India


I am Khushi Modani, a student pursuing BBA in PES University, Bengaluru. I have a keen interest in Human Resource Management and Marketing. In my free time, you can catch me reading a book, or binging on my favorite web-series. I am also passionate about theatre and writing, and was the editor for my school magazine. Currently, I am working for Adaptive Instruction as a Market Research Intern.


Foreword to the article by Venkat
It is important to realize and accept that by design of our nature, we are an integrated set of components that often function best in opposite ways. For instance, as social beings our needs and social status is best valued through effective interaction but as individuals our needs and self-worth is best valued through effective calmness. Mental capacities are unlimited for an active mind but physically there is always limitation in terms of the energy and biological processes. By various factors such as prejudice, conditioning, ignorance, laziness or low self-esteem, the self-awareness of these integrated components is lost. Thus the mind is fooled into giving more importance to what is directly tangible, obtainable, pleasurable or easily understood. With the lack of importance to the intangible, hard to obtain, the unpleasant and complexity, they soon get devalued as well. Only hard, painful experiences or inspirational education can bring the self-awareness and the balanced perspective on the value of intangibles along with the tangibles. All human values are intangible for physical senses but life, including the economy, ultimately runs best when human values of trust and respect are at their best. Economic health is best measured by tangible factors such as health, education, skill etc. but all of these are best produced by intangible, non-physical factors such as focus, discipline, practice, happiness etc.

Khushi, in this insightful article, highlights the development of societal views on homemakers and the need for a progressive change in the outlook. Undervaluing homemakers for their non-economic nature of home activities is clearly a product of an unaware mind that has lost the perspective on the great value of the intangibles. Kudos to Khushi for bringing such a relevant topic for the due attention it demands.

To understand the plight of homemakers in India and appreciate the need for due respect to their hard work, read further, in this well written article.


Status of Homemakers in India

India has been a developing nation for more than thirty years but the mindsets of the countrymen are taking longer to develop than the country itself. Traditionally, women were seen as the caregivers, weak and dependent on men. Women, though they did as much (if not more) laborious tasks than men all day round, were regarded as inferior members of society because of the fact that their work did not generate any income. The irony of them being looked down upon by the society, while simultaneously being the ones sought as wives for their sons is unmatched.

Home-makers, previously called housewives, also had a set of stereotypes to go along with their designation. The ideal housewife was meek, gentle, forgiving and self-sacrificing, along with being eternally grateful to her husband. Men, on the other hand, were not expected to return this gratitude.

Home-makers have the toughest job one can think of. They work around the clock, cannot take a leave or resign even if they want to. But their contribution is officially shown as nil, because it doesn’t add to the GDP of a nation. Thus, home-makers rely on their spouse, and more importantly on their spouse’s temperament at the present moment, for finances even though they also work, just not for money.

A home-maker’s job can also be rewarding if he or she is treated with respect and thanked properly and often for their work, but in today’s world, funds are equally, or more important than gratitude. A person with no financial freedom often cannot make their own decisions and spend their life the way they would want to.

It is slowly being acknowledged that running the household is far from easy. In the recent past, India has been taking baby steps to get rid of the stigma surrounding the term ‘housewife’ and has adopted a more inclusive, unisex term called ‘home-maker’, which can even refer to a stay-at-home husband who looks after the household. Nowadays, it is even regarded as a separate employment status as opposed to being classified under ‘self-employed’ or ‘unemployed’, which is an empowering move that will hopefully encourage the perception of household work as a job, rather than being seen merely as a collection of chores.

However, it is not all great for home-makers even now. The women who stay at home by choice or by force are still thought of as worthless by the ‘modern population’ as they do not work for the economy. The major reason for this disdain is internalized misogyny, where whatever a woman does, seems wrong. Society simultaneously pushes for women to stay at home and tend to the household instead of being in a workplace, yet belittles them for not making a living.

Even men who choose to stay home while their spouse works are regarded as ‘abnormal’ since they are breaking social norms, and the country squirms at the mere thought of change. India is developing, but we still have a long way to go to give due respect for home-makers.

By Khushi Modani
BBA Student, PES University, Bangalore, India


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