Vive le difference
It may sound strange but I’ve never ever felt that I’ve been disadvantaged being born a woman and that too an Indian woman. On the contrary, I feel privileged to have been born the way I am because I feel I’ve had it better than most people. Of course there are times when I feel overworked, under appreciated and even over looked; there have been regrets over opportunities missed but by and large I feel I’m one of those fortunate women who’ve had the better end of the stick.
Long live the difference
More than 2/3 Indian women feel there exists inequality at home between men and women
The other day my little grandson had a friend (who was two years older) over for a playdate. Half way through, the little girl wanted to do pee-pee so she asked her mother to take her to the bathroom. She also wanted her friend i.e. my little fellow to follow suit so the two of them toodled off to the bathroom with their mothers. When both the children were pant-less, the little girl pointed out to my grandson and asked his mother what “that” was and why he was doing pee-pee differently from her! So there you have it – the basic difference between men and women.
This fundamental difference between men and women extends to physical strength and endurance as well. I also think it exists to some degree to intellectual capacities too. While feminists will argue that differences between the sexes are culturally determined, there are some obvious leanings that are natural. Having brought up two daughters and now actively caring for my grandson, I can assure you that my grandson has a natural affinity for all things mechanical and dreams of cars all day long. Not wanting to raise my daughters as typical females, I consciously avoided giving them only girly toys but I do know that they didn’t display the same passion for cars as my grandson is doing at the same age. So ,even though I can change a car tyre more efficiently than my better half (no, not by giving directions or getting some one to do it, but actually doing it myself), I still feel that as a woman it is more tiring for me to do physical work which a man can do easily. Similarly there are some things a woman can do easily and possibly better than a man – so why should we not just accept the basic fact that men and women are different?
Despite coming from a fairly progressive family living in cosmopolitan , urban environments, where most of the women are post graduates, I have seen the boy children being given preferential treatment by their own mothers – the biggest piece of chicken is fished out for the boy of the family and horror of horrors, I’ve seen one nephew being met at the gate of the house so that his mother can carry his bag up to his room while his little sister has to lug her own all by herself! So very often, inequality in the house is perpetuated by the women themselves.
This inequality is often visible in other forms more subtle like the boy given more opportunities to expand his horizons and prospects with more time and energy being spent on his extra-curricular activities while the girls are left largely to fend for themselves and more attention being given to them only when it is quite apparent that their talent is hard to put down.
So while the mothers are actively indulging their sons, the fathers are indulging their daughters! Many fathers actually feel that their daughters need that extra pampering and spoiling just because they will be leaving them one day and are more willing to pander to their silly whims. I’ve seen some girls being driven to and from various events at school while their brothers are left to fend for themselves.
Only two jobs?
85% of working Indian women feel they have two jobs, one at home and one at work
I am a stay at home mom so I’ve technically had only one job all my life that is making sure my household runs like clockwork. But because I’m just doing “nothing ” all day long, I have to do other tasks like banking, paying bills, collecting parcels that need to be collected, vegetable shopping, designing clothes and getting them tailored, entertaining people who need to be entertained, taking people shopping, arranging entertainment programs for business guests and associates, doing research work for any one who needs to know various things from which bus goes to Nana Chowk from Goregaon and what is the inscription from the Bible that you can find on the UN Headquarters in New York! I also have to plan menus, type letters, write resumes, do the odd jobs, plan holidays , book tickets for plays, journeys and films.
And I’m pretty sure, I’m not the only woman who is doing all this. Most women have to play nurse maid, cook, hostess, agony aunt and a whole load of jobs which most of us are doing for free. Unlike a man who can say that he is tired or needs a break, for most of us wanting to just stand in the balcony for a breath of fresh air is an act of stealthy pleasure.
So for all those who say that a woman has two jobs – I say NO WAY! A woman has a 100 jobs because all women have to do more than just housework and office work – they have to juggle a hundred different things and all at once.
But despite all this, I am happy to be a woman and doing my own laundry!