Subarna Ghosh, a 47-year-old woman from Mumbai, was on a call with her colleagues. washing her dishes at home. The pandemic and the lockdown thereafter has taught us to adapt to juggling more than one task, be it personal or professional commitments. But the journey has been one hell of a ride.
As people took to working remotely, increased work hours and long work calls added extra burden on employees, but it impacted women to a great deal, according to a recent survey. Happened because unlike being at office, women were now meeting professional deadlines amidst household chores and caregiving commitments.
An age-old tradition deeply embedded in patriarchy, household work has majorly been the responsibility of women, even as they have stepped beyond the threshold to assume the role of breadwinner alongside men. Raising voice against this unequal distribution of household labour, Ghosh started a petition on change.org, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, around mid-May, requesting him to motivate men to share the burden equally.
“Unequal distribution of unpaid household work has rendered the harshest blow to women across India during this lockdown. Yet, women’s care work continues to be invisible and no one wants to address this gross imbalance,” wrote the co-founder of ReRight Foundation, an NGO that works on women’s reproductive rights.
Talking about her personal challenges, Ghosh further wrote, “I live with my husband and two children in India’s urban heartland. And I feel exhausted bearing this unfair share of the workload. The fatigue from being overworked is palpable amongst women in most Indian homes. Some even bear the ‘double burden’ of having a paid job…Sign my petition asking Mr Modi to talk to Indian men about doing an equal share of care work within the household in his next speech.”
In a chat with indianexpress.com, Ghosh explained why she addressed the petition to PM Modi. “Around that time (when she started the petition), PM Modi had just spoken to the nation and asked people to light diyas and everyone did it, including men. Whatever be one’s political inclination, each and every person listens to him. He also spoke about sanitary napkins recently. So why can’t a leader of a country, who is such a big influencer, come and also tell men to participate in the housework? If the Prime Minister actually talks about this, to the world it will show a huge political commitment as well towards addressing issues related to gender inequality. And there is no harm in finding an ally in a male leader.”
— విశ్వ నరుడు?? (@WRITER_SAINIK) April 23, 2020