Ok. If this infographic is to be believed, 2 out of three children believe that doing laundry is a woman’s job and that household jobs are meant to be done only by women, 78 % of girls believe that they will have to do the laundry, 81 % of the men feel that girls should learn to do household chores, and yet 65% percent of married men agree that their behaviour at home is replicated by their children.
So despite the fact that such a large percentage of men know that their behaviour will be replicated by their children, why are parents doing nothing about it?
Indeed with more women entering the workforce and working a man’s job, isn’t it strange that their roles at home still remain defined by their gender?
Frankly, I feel that there are certain jobs only women can do like breast feeding and some that only men can or rather, do better purely because of their brute strength. Also there are certain jobs that are rather unpleasant and are better done by men such as the last rites of a departed soul.
But by and large, there is no job that a man does that a woman can’t do. In fact , since time immemorial, men and women have worked side by side, together and raising a family. Somewhere down the line women were kept inside the home ( tucked away from the eyes of marauders and plundering armies)and there began the gender discrimination and division of labour into men’s jobs and women’s work.
However,there are only so many hours in a day and when a woman spends her time out of the house doing a man’s job, doesn’t it make sense for her man to chip in and help her do her job?
Taking out the Garbage
” and can you imagine, he even takes out the garbage when he comes home ” I once overheard Mrs P complaining about her daughter in law’s treatment of her darling son.
” Yes , these modern girls are like that only,” commiserated Mrs J , quite conveniently forgetting that her own husband used to bring home the vegetables on his way home from work while she sat around doing only the “housework”.
Mrs. P of course, quite conveniently forgot that her son was living abroad and where the garbage was not collected from the home as is the case in India. Naturally, any man worth his salt, would take the garbage out rather than expect his wife to lug it out. Isn’t it?
Bringing home the bacon and cooking it too
There was a time when men brought home the bacon. Not only did they go out and earn money but many men actually did the shopping as well and brought home the vegetables on their way home. However, with social evolution , women became equal partners in contributing to the family kitty.
And with changing social mores, many men also help in the kitchen. I prefer my husband to stay out of my kitchen but that is because I like to work alone.
My daughter believes that gender biases are instilled and is trying her best to make sure that her little son doesn’t behave like a typical male. However, I must admit, though, I was a bit taken aback by the bubble gum pink cooking range she gifted him for his second birthday . ” Isn’t it taking things a bit too far? ” I asked her rather hesitantly.
” Well I got it because I’ve always wanted one ( and you never got me one was the sub text) and if I don’t cook , I can hardly expect my daughter-in- law to cook can I ? ”
Three Cheers ! I said silently for the unknown grand daughter in law who was being championed by her husband’s mother . I was happy that my grandson was learning how to cook so early in life. If nothing else, at least he won’t be going hungry in his life.
Whither thou goest.
Ruth had set an example to all women to follow their husbands to the ends of the earth when she refused to allow her mother-in-law to go back to her own people after the death of her own husband. Her loyalty and identification with her husband’s people are commendable and are often held as an example for all women to follow .
In all societies and cultures, a woman’s job is second fiddle to her husband’s and she is expected to up and leave when he wishes or has to relocate irrespective of the fact that she is more qualified or more capable – her job is just second fiddle . This too is a prejudice that is deeply ingrained and wives who do not follow this are berated by their own families. ” What kind of new fangled marriage is this, where she is here and he is there?” is the oft heard complaint of many a mother or mother in law. But listen, I want to tell her, didn’t she work equally hard to get where she is now? So isn’t it time for him to share her vision of her life’s journey?
DO IT YOURSELF
Thirty years ago, my daughter was playing “house” with her cousin. They both went to sleep and when she woke up, he asked her to make her a cup of coffee before he left for work. This is a typical scene played out in most households – the wife gets the coffee/tea going so that hubby dear can have his cup that cheers before he leaves for work.
I was quite surprised when my daughter coolly picked up her hand bag and said, “Get it yourself, “I’m getting late for work!”
Now of course this was a game of make believe and definitely not a replication of what was played out in either of our homes but obviously my daughter had decided earlier in life that she was not going to be the good little wife or at least expressed a desire to be different. I didn’t stop her from “going to work” and silently praised the little boy for getting up and “making his own tea” .
Today, I’m glad to report that both cousins have their own homes where each of them expects the housework to be shared equally by both spouses!
Changing social values
The beauty of life is that society is constantly evolving. What was right today becomes wrong tomorrow. For instance smoking which was widely prevalent and considered cool and hip, is now actually frowned upon several young people who look at the smokers in airport smoking zones with something akin to sympathy if not outright pity.
Gradually, with shrinking families, men will realise that they will have to pull their weight and help share the burden of bringing up a family which is the basic social unit else spend a hefty amount getting the help that their working wives need.
It is time then for us, to uproot all the prejudices and gender biases that exist, so that men can share the load and it is up to all of us to change our own mind sets and accept the fact that a man can do the laundry, wash the dishes, take out the garbage and in fact do half his wife’s job if not more – after all, he is stronger and tougher than a woman, isn’t he?????
a job is a job is a job
So from today, I’m going to make sure that my grandchildren are not going to be told what is a man’s job and what is a girl’s job. They will learn that a job is a job is a job and that it has to be done no matter what !