70 Hours Work Week? Aren’t Women Already Working Longer Hours?

Is it fair?

Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy had the entire nation in a tizzy with his statement about youngsters working 70 hours a week to help India;’s economy. This could mean that one has to work 10 hours all 7 days a week or that we have 5 days of 14 hours working day. To anyone who came across the interview, the numbers have flabbergasted them. When countries like Spain are working towards a 4-day work week, we are talking about increasing our time. But the reality of the matter lies in the fact that women, from time immemorial, have been working round the clock. Do they have a start and end time for their busy day? And the worst part is when their work isn’t taken into account because it’s ‘housework’. How many women do we know who have 70-plus hours of work in a week? Aren’t they entitled to some days off?

The patriarchal system has set some rules, things are changing with women going
out to work, heading corporations and being entrepreneurs. We are constantly breaking the glass ceiling. From sports to politics, movie-making to business, women are conquering it all. All these are steps in the right direction but is their load reduced in any way?
Most working women are juggling, between their offices and their homes, between their professional duties and social responsibilities! Women often bear the “double burden” of working outside the home and taking on a significant share of domestic responsibilities, including childcare, housework, and caregiving for family members. This dual role can lead to overwork, as they effectively have two full-time jobs.

Indian women, like women in many other cultures, may experience extra work and responsibilities during festival times. Have you noticed how women work overtime during the festive season? We just finished navratri/golu festivities, while all of us get a break from work and school, mothers or other women in the house are slogging. They work extra to make the festivals special. From deep cleaning the house to decorating it, making special delicacies to even visiting relatives and friends, she doesn’t get a moment’s rest. Balancing family responsibilities can be challenging during festival times, especially when it comes to childcare. Women often manage the needs of children while performing various festival-related tasks.

While these traditional roles are deeply rooted in Indian culture, there is a growing awareness of the need to share these responsibilities more equally among family members. Many families are making efforts to reduce the burden on women during festivals and promote a more balanced approach to celebrating these occasions. Gender equality and a fair distribution of labour are important goals in this context, allowing women to enjoy the festivities without being overburdened with extra work.

When a woman is also an office-going working professional, her duties, in most households don’t reduce or change. She is responsible for her career as well as her home. Somehow over the years, in an attempt to empower women, people have forgotten that we are adding more to her plate. A conscious attempt at shared household duties and responsibilities needs to be made. A simple act of making the weekend grocery and essentials list and stocking up your kitchen will help ease the burden. Take a few things off of her list and see the difference it makes to her day. Let’s strive to have a healthier work-life balance, keeping mental, physical and emotional well-being at the forefront.

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