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April 26, 2017

Essay : Managing Work and Home - A Double Burden on Indian Women

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Managing Work and Home - A Double Burden on Indian Women

  • Indian working women try to balance job between home and workplace. 
  • In India, domestic front is regarded as women's responsibility. 
  • The daily routine of a working woman. 
  • The effects of double burden on their physical and psychological health. 
  • Double burden is for both urban and rural women. 
  • The way out to reduce 'double burden.
The majority of Indian women are involved in regular economic activity or productive work. This is in addition to their domestic work which is defined as women's responsibility. The Indian menfolk in general are unwilling to contribute their part in finishing the household work. As a result women are entrusted with the double burden of doing household work, taking care of her children and husband and their official employment outside of home.

The home is assumed to be woman's main place of work and working in an office or institution to be secondary. We find, therefore working women trying to do a balancing job between home and workplace which can be equated like balancing on a tight rope. It is common to see a working woman get up early, work in the kitchen, getting the children ready for school. After all this getting ready hurriedly and reaching office in time. At work also, they have to give 100% to accomplish the given task, work hard to qualify for promotion In the evening rush back home to attend to family duties, household work and children's studies. It is far worse than a 'rat race' men incessantly talk about.

The double burden of holding a job and looking after a family is the biggest challenge an Indian woman faces. This double burden or double day phenomena is among the most serious of the problems as far as Indian women are concerned this problem is intensified when one consider. The long-term effect of women's double responsibilities on their psychological and physical health and resulting loss of productivity.

A study recently found that, women on an average work 96 minutes longer than men every day. That is one and a half hour each day when male is watching TV or sleeping or getting a beer with friends, the female is either at desk in her office or doing house work. Mostly working women expand their workday, not by cutting back on child care time or home production time but by reducing their `leisure' time,

This double burden is not limited to the urban areas. In rural areas, women are found working at home as well as contributing in fields also throughout the day. In rural areas, the women are involved in allied activities such as animal husbandry, sericulture, labourers and farmers.

They have to look after the household as well as children along with full day back-breaking work, working in the fields in the hot Sun with a baby also tied up in a blanket or cloth nearby. It is the common scene in many rural parts of India. Creches or baby care centres for working women at the place of work would be an unheard idea there. To add to this, they have to face the burnt of domestic violence so many times.

To call a woman the weaker sex is a label; it is a man's injustice to woman. If by strength it is meant moral power, then she is immeasurably powerful. Had she not been self sacrificing? Had she not been an epitome of great endurance? Had she not the courage to endure? Men would not have been the same. It is called "behind every successful man is a woman". The phrase should change to "behind every successful family is an enduring mother and a considerate husband."

A woman therefore is a combination of many forms whose job is the most difficult in world. It is the duty of the society to acknowledge her contribution and encourage her in her efforts. There has to be greater sensitisation and understanding of the problems of working women. 'Double burden' can be reduced only by changing the mind set of Indian women and patriarchial society that looks down upon women as their entities whom they may treat the way they like.

It is the responsibility of policy-makers and planners to acknowledge women's double burden and to find means to minimise it and ultimately relieve women of it. This should happen not by denying work-opportunities to women but by reducing home and child care responsibilities to make them more compatible with women's economic roles. Increased women participation in all spheres, paid maternity leave, day care centres for children, baby care centres or creches at the workplace, increased gender sensitisation are some of the steps can be taken to improve the status of women.

Importantly, the next generation of children must be made sensitive to the hardships faced by their mothers at the home and work place. This may improve the situation of Indian women undergoing the double burden of working at home as well as work place.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Entrusted give responsibility for
  • Assumed come to the conclusion
  • Rat race competitive struggle
  • Incessantly constantly
  • Phenomena something unusual or interesting that exists
  • Intensified increase or boost up
  • Leisure free time or spare time
  • Contributing help to cause, donate
  • Allied associated
  • Sericulture breeding and raising of silk worm
  • Immeasurably which cannot be measured
  • Epitome perfect example symbol, summary
  • Endurance tolerance
  • Compatible able to exist or occur together without conflict 
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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