Salary for housewives – An idea to ponder

With the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election fast approaching, election campaigns are in full swing in the state. Political parties are increasing or rather trying to maintain their vote banks through various election promises. Recently, Mr. Kamal Hassan from the ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ party, as part of his election manifesto, put forth the idea of -salary for housewives. This had created a huge buzz among the netizens with a good amount of population welcoming and opposing the idea at the same time. It was just an idea and since there were not much details on how the scheme would be implemented and so on, the buzz slowly died down. Following Mr. Hassan’s announcement, the major parties like ADMK and DMK added something similar in their manifesto. These major parties(ADMK, DMK) promised Rs1500/month and Rs 1000/month respectively for the women of the household. Though it is understood that these schemes are majorly vote bank politics, there lies a deeper sentiment with this idea of recognizing housewives.

Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women – Maya Angelou

Women are the real-life superheroes that nature has provided. The recent world has seen women dominating in various fields like politics, movies, technology, media, and many more. Above all the highest mention is for the deserving ‘homemakers. In everybody’s life, there is one such superpower in the form of mom, wife, sister, or a daughter who has been the backbone of the family, silently getting all the job done taking the role of a cook, baby sitter, nurse, financial advisor, counselor, teacher, cleaner, driver and many more. They strive so much without any expectations, so the rest of the family can go behind their materialistic dreams.

India, for a long, has been a patriarchal society. It is to be mentioned that a lot has changed in recent times and a sense of men and women being equal is getting quite common . Given such welcoming changes in society, there is still a certain taboo prevailing around house chores among major men. In spite of this being a common issue among every household, this needs to be addressed in the long run. When women are given their fair piece of recognition neither within the family nor in the society, there is a kind of fatigue that prevails.

These women who stay as a backbone to their families needs to be given their fair share. For someone who is successful in the materialistic world, there is always somebody back home taking control of the family and maintaining a balance. So, can this sought-out recognition be in the form of money? If so, how can one monetize somebody’s work when each household is different? Should there be something more than a salary? Will this type of aid by the govt. further, restrict housewives from getting to work and confine them within their houses? It is important to be considerate about the sentiments around this idea of monetizing a woman’s household work , which she regards as her right, and does it with utmost sincerity. Let us consider both sides of the idea.

Household work is a woman’s right and it should not be monetized:

If the housewives are provided a salary, the expectation on her working schedules and amount of work done might be questioned which could become an ethical issue. She might be treated as an employee by her husband and the domestic atmosphere might change altogether. Her usual rants surrounding the chores might not be tolerated anymore. The men might find themselves in a more powerful position than before. Women’s prowess might feel compromised at times. Will the women in the household able to cope with this feeling?

Housewives to be given a basic salary:

Housewives are mostly dependent on their men financially. They might have to depend on them even for small expenses, which gets overwhelming at times. Now, when the government or their spouse’s employer provides them with a fixed salary on a monthly basis, it definitely helps them. It can also become a small saving that might come in handy for them in the future. Above all, they might have a sense of satisfaction and relief for all the hard work they do every day of the year. Though no amount of money is too much for their effort, it is a sense of importance that they feel when they help the family monetarily.

So, how can the govt. contribute?

The government can provide a fixed income to homemakers. The aid can be based on the tax amount paid by the family. If not the government, the spouse’s employer should fix a part of their pay for their homemaker counterparts, or a company can provide stocks in the name of their spouses/mom.

What more can be done?

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”- as this saying goes, the housewives can be brought into a more organized sector in the society.

Housewives, from a given resident community, can have their information registered like their interests, area of expertise, hobbies, etc. in the school where their kids’ study. Schools could be the best place for women to register themselves because of easier accessibility than any other venue. Based on their interests, an organized committee could be formed to help them. For instance, women with an interest in cooking could offer catering service to the schools, municipal offices, or other govt. offices within their proximity. These organizations can be funded by the govt. Women with literary interests could connect as a group and explore opportunities. Thus, these women can contribute more and not feel neglected. These schemes would not just uplift the living conditions for the women but also for their entire family.

Society would become more civilized and mature when the women are treated fairly and regarded high. It is high time our society understands the sentiments of women and acts accordingly. I Hope, this would be the beginning of our unsung heroes.


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