Most women, everywhere, have encountered the following situation: They see their stray items of clothing or dirty dishes strewn around and think if they should ask the culprit (once again!) to tidy up, or just do it themselves. To be fair, most have no choice, but the few who do, too, wage a battle with themselves around whose responsibility is it before giving up and taking control.
We address the challenge through various names—it’s mental overload for some, worry-work for others, or simply a struggle for equality. But what we rarely address is the guilt that women experience when they don’t conform.
As the title of the popular book by Rebecca Shambaugh goes, “It’s not a glass ceiling, it’s a sticky floor.”
The Real Home Work
When we asked women in the Thrive community what they’ve been made to feel guilty about, most answers revolved around performing household chores and conforming to the idea of a woman that’s acceptable to the society. A reader, Bhavko, for instance, said, “Not knowing how to cook. Not caring about the fact that I don’t know how to cook” is what she has been made to feel guilty about.
Housework is endless, unpaid and bothersome to everyone—yet it’s historically considered a woman’s job. It’s not a speculation anymore as surveys after surveys point to the divide. To cite just one, a survey by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that an average Indian man spends only 19 minutes a day on routine housework.
Naturally, women slave over the housework which affects not only their mental health but also their professional lives. More comments from our community members confirmed the status quo: A reader Damantiwana said, [I’ve been made to feel guilty about] “not liking to cook, being opinionated…” For Chandni Shah, it’s simply daring to “work” that she has been made to feel guilty about whereas for Shaili Mehta, it’s “having late nights at my job”.
Few men would be stopped from putting in extra hours at work and fewer would be asked to quit their jobs to raise a child. A reader Sheismespeaks puts it succinctly. “[I’ve been made to feel guilty about] being a mother and gathering [the] courage to come back to [the] workforce.” For many others, like, Its_me_rasi, it’s problematic “when being independent is seen as a crime”.
The way out? A simple list in the words of ArpitaChauhan. Each member should #SharetheLoad at home by “cooking, doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning… pretty much everything”.
Want to relate your #ShareTheLoad story? Write to us at [email protected]