March 8 – International Women’s Day. Suddenly this day has become quite popular over the past few years. I don’t remember celebrating this when we were in our teens or early twenties. Apparently, the celebrations were due to women getting the right to vote – so this must have been a really old tradition.
Women’s day got me thinking about women in general and I am really sad to say that there really has been minimal progress as far as our lives are concerned. It does not matter which stratum of the society she belongs to. Forget equality, even respect and dignity looks out of reach for her.
This is not about the elite few who have made it big on the career front and have the perfect home life too. I speak for the majority of women here – the ladies who shell peas and snip greens on the Mumbai local after a full day’s office work, because they have to enter the kitchen as soon as they enter their homes while their husbands relax with the television after a ‘hard day’s work’, the apparently well-off ladies who can afford a cook but still need to serve and set and clear the table after that business meeting, the home-makers who slog and slog from dawn to night and the mothers who have additional tasks of homework and projects… the list goes on.
In this day and age where women are striding into every territory that was earlier not hers to think about, why cannot men make the simple walk to the kitchen and the house chores? Why cannot the washing machine duty, the cooking and the groceries duty, the kitchen cleaning duty, the homework and project duty be shared?
There are so many lovely ideas floating around – I saw an ad recently which talked about giving a day off for the ladies (I want this one to be implemented ASAP – somebody make a law please), another talked about cooking for her and so on. For a shift to actually take place, the men have to realize that their masculinity is, in no way, compromised if they help their wives. They will NOT be termed hen-pecked. The ladies however need to change a lot too. Instead of slaving away, they need to ASK for help. Accept that things would not be as perfect when done by someone else but it is okay. Ensure that there is no discrimination on gender when household chores are handed out to the children – make the boy help with the kitchen and the girl go out for bread and milk as an example. Make sure that the next generation does not hear that this is a lady’s job or this is a man’s job.
I would love to hear what else we can do to make this world a little bit more equal. Because, hey, how long can women keep holding the burden? Doesn’t it make sense to share it? Wonder what will happen if she gets frustrated and dumps it and walks out to freedom… now that is a radical thought. 🙂