Encouraging and supporting citizen journalism in Nepal
Ah! My back hurts”, she murmured typing the report with one hand while nursing the baby on the other. A moment later, hearing her husband complain about the pile of not ironed clothes, she shut her laptop. Recently, she had found a great job with an impressive pay check. But her family was unable to appreciate her new position.
“She is a woman. She needs to know her priorities, now that she has taken up the load, let her handle it,” he exclaimed furiously drinking a cup of tea that was served to him in the morning. He didn’t know how that cup of tea was made. Little did he register that his wife had to wake up at five am everyday just to make it. It didn’t matter if she had high fever or a cramped leg; she always had to get a packet of milk from the shop. For him, waking up to the smell of hot brewing tea in the morning was as natural as the sun shining from the east.
Preparing a cup of tea is no work for someone who always has a cup waiting for him.
“Why does she need to go out for work? She has a small child to take care of and her husband is handling the money business,” claimed her family. But no one ever questioned the father about his responsibility towards the child.
Gender division in labour has been a central feature of gender inequality in our society. Socially constructed identities have compelled household division of labour to remain highly partial. Despite a few changes in gender norms in the last few decades, men are still
considered the primary breadwinners of the house. And women still shoulder the overwhelming burden of household tasks.
Valuing the time spent by women in domestic work more than her paid work, doubles the burden for working women, having to do a large amount of household works as well as paid work. Unequal division of labour in the household has a profound effect on every woman’s employment and career. Despite their entry into paid jobs, women still carry out more domestic work than men, limiting their ability to act on an equal footing within the workplace.
It is important to devise a society where men’s involvement in children’s lives and household chores is valued. The stereotype of mother being the nurturer and father being the provider have to be broken. A society can only progress when there is greater equality. For which men will need to reallocate their time towards housework. By doing some household work together men and women can both gain more time for other pursuits.
Even if women gain more economic power, until cultural and economic forces promote gender equality, changes in the division of labour will be insignificant. Gender equality implies not only equal distribution of work load between men and women in all domains of society. It is also about qualitative aspects, ensuring that the knowledge and experiences of citizens are used to promote progress in all aspects of our society.
She couldn’t complete her report that morning. Not because she was incapable of doing it but apparently ironing her husband’s clothes was much more urgent. Somewhere between trying to maintain the balance between her house and career, she lost herself. She forgot to breathe; she lived for others and not for herself.
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