Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 39, Tuesday, March 2, 2004








MY husband once told me that I was like Windows 95. Of course that was way back in time; now with age and experience I too have been upgraded and today I think I am something like Windows XP, a multi-tasking system. That's besides the point here, however. What he meant was that I can work, rather perform different chores all at one go and complete them with equal efficiency. In fact, though I failed to realise it then, he was actually giving me kudos for the amount of work I can do in a twenty four-hour's time span.

If he intends to do housework, like tidying up his room, you would find that after three hours of hard labour, only one single drawer has been put into order, while the rest of the room is filled with spaghetti-like tangles of wires and papers and clothes tossed around like salad with spilled tea acting as the salad oil.

I can not imagine the chaos, or appreciate the effort, but one good thing here is, he realised and registered my contribution to our family, even if that meant being compared with software. Not too long ago, though, in our grandmothers' time and also during our mothers' generation, husbands did not for once appreciate the hot meal at dinner or the clean towel in the bathroom. The homemaker, his wife was never of any importance to anyone in his family.

I fail to understand why a housewife's work is never properly evaluated or appreciated. You know, whether you are working or not, housework remains the same for wives in every household. Without going into details, it's a lot of tedious chores.

Instead of having someone to share the work with, marriage causes housework to increase significantly for women. Married women perform 14 hours more housework each week than their single counterparts. It is not something that I made up; studies in Brown University states this.

By comparison, married men perform only 90 minutes more. Because the amount of time men spent on housework did not increase as substantially as the amount of time for women, men perform a much smaller share of the work for a married couple.

Housework can cause distress because it offers less recognition, less likelihood of being thanked and lower levels of work fulfilment than paid work.

We all know that housework was defined as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, washing dishes, doing repairs, paying bills, making arrangements and caring for children, and this remains so even if you have a nine to five job.

Additionally, distress over household labour for working women may stem from feeling overloaded with pressures both from the workplace and at home. Distress for homemakers may stem from the reality that they are frequently staying home only on a temporary basis nowadays, while raising children, and want to maintain a team approach to the marriage.

However a household, where both the man and woman strive together to provide a well-balanced stable home for their family, especially in the the upper middle class strata of the society in any developed country, the intellectual capability of the woman of the house rarely matters at home- except when it comes to helping the kids with their homework!

At home she is a full time homemaker. The man has traditionally been the provider - financially. Despite the changing scenario over the last few decades, his role has not expanded beyond the traditional head of the household! The women, on the other hand, have expanded their horizons - have entered the mainstream of what have so far been the male-bastions; and yet have provided the basic structure and foundations of being the home makers as well.

In this regard I recall my editor's comment "We men fail to appreciate our women's strength, and their ability to move mountains by sheer willpower." On this note I salute my half of the human species for their strength, integrity and zest for life. This year's 8th March, International Women's Day, Star Lifestyle dedicates its issue to the homemakers of the world.

By Raffat Binte Rashid



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