I watched a debate on the television on this topic. There were two groups who discussed this. Surprisingly, each group had a husband/wife whose spouse was in the other group. This opportunity was too good to be missed, I guess! The debate was lively, did not reduce to a wrangling match because of the mediator. He was able to conduct the whole debate very smoothly. Those who do not want their wives to work have no problems if their daughters or sisters work.
Why these double standards? Their explanation is till the kids are young they need their mothers. So their wives could take up jobs after a few years. But they refused to admit what these few years are. One lady wanted to know how long she was supposed to wait. She was a double post graduate, and professionally qualified. She said her skills would become redundant if she waited any longer. She has been waiting for over ten years.
Her husband had no answer to her question. One gentleman said his was a transferable job, so he wanted his family to be with him. If his wife was employed, she would stay back, he would have to shift and he would miss out on family life because the children would be with her.
It never struck him that she could always resign her job and joins some concern in the city where he shifted. But he wants to educate his daughter and wants her to join IIM at Ahmedabad. This is his goal in life. When asked if he would allow her to work, he said when she is so qualified, why should he deny her a career? His wife is a rank holder and a qualified person, but he wants her home. He was asked if in the future a groom wanted his daughter to stay at home, would he agree to this alliance. He said he would refuse. Another gentleman said he did not want his wife to undergo the hassles of managing home and job. The daily hazards of bus/train journey, stress of a workaholic boss, stress of meeting deadlines, could all be avoided if she stays at home. Also the children, his parents, relatives could all be taken care of by her. Even if she was willing to shoulder the burden of work and home, and was confident of doing justice to both, he was not convinced.
Another lady accused her husband of having got used to having her wait on him; give him his coffee when he comes home, etc. That is the reason why he was loathes seeing her take up a job. Another gentleman said when a woman is confident of handling both a home and a career, and then she must be encouraged. His wife was completing her higher education and was planning to take up a job. He was very supportive, and felt all husbands must emulate him. According to him, women are a capable lot; they can take any amount of changes and tensions and come out smiling. He said they are a lot stronger than men and they are capable of more. So the debate raged and husbands and wives were throwing questions at each other. One lady said she was upset having to leave her child at the crèche while she attended office. And any calls from there, she had to seek permission from her boss and leave. She felt she was being put in a delicate situation. Her husband asked her if he had ever pushed her to work. She declined. He too shared in all the chores, and he too went to the crèche whenever he received a call.
And he asked her whether she was capable of staying at home at a stretch. She agreed it was not possible. So why was she complaining? All the ladies who wanted to work and were working were vociferously advocating that women should work. All those who were qualified and who wanted to work should be encouraged. This was their viewpoint. They could not understand why the men folk objected. All those women who felt women should not work said women should learn to manage the family within what their husbands earned. Also it was very stressful to manage both home and career. They felt when they are at home; they can take good care of their children, in-laws, parents, and all the guests who arrived. They can concentrate on everyone’s health, and also take active participation in their children’s education. This was their argument. The rebuttal to this was when you have family support, and then a woman can achieve a lot.
And there is the concept of quality time. Also those children, whose mothers were working, turned out to be more independent and also aware of their responsibilities. They learned to participate in all the household chores and were proud of their working mothers. The debate rages on. There was even one guy who said 40% of workingwomen were going astray. He was right royally condemned. Even his own group people were against his remark and he had to apologize. He was ripped apart by the anchor. So, you get all kinds in a debate. This debate is to be continued. Hope to catch it. But seriously, what do you think? Is a woman capable of managing a home and her career? Those men, who feel they are doing a favor to their wives by asking them to be housewives, are they doing it out of selfish reasons or do they feel threatened? Going out to work gives anyone, not only women, a sense of confidence.
There are women who have no choice but work. But many ladies also work because they are qualified and have a passion for it. And they do bring in useful money, one must admit. Who does not like money? Women are good at multi-tasking. And they can handle wolves, eve teasers, and grouchy bosses. They may be physically weaker, but are emotionally stronger. They will always find a way of handling any crisis. Like a lady on the show said, if necessary they will get up an hour early to accomplish everything. I feel the choice should be given to the lady. If she wishes to work, if she is confident of handling both and if her spouse and family are willing to support her, then she can have a career. It does lead to fulfillment. And with changing times, a lady can also work from home, part time, or flexible hours. So let her choose. Whether she wants to have a career or wants to be a housewife.