Women’s working after marriage is treated as a pastime. The case of ignoring women’s career goals
“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty.” – Louisa May Alcott, Little Women.
Women do have ambitions and women do have talents but under the light of patriarchy, women’s virtues get overshadowed. Yet women’s working after marriage is often not seen as something to have anything to do with her ambitions. Marriage is often seen as a proposition where women are on the compromising end. Considering the preconception that man is the bread-earner and women should look after the household, a married woman’s working is often justified with multiple arguments.
These arguments range from proving the working of the women as a pastime or seeing her working as something that’s to make the ends meet. And while a man is always supposed to work after marriage, women’s working is always explained with a reason – that ‘this is why she is working’ and that reason most often doesn’t include her career goals. And hence, we ask why do women have to justify working after marriage?
“I have been the bread earner of the family for the longest. But when it comes to telling people about the same, my husband, or even I prefer to always say that I am working because I have a lot of free time” said Pooja, who has been a businesswoman for the last 10 years.
When breaking the gender roles becomes a challenge
“You see, it’s difficult to explain to people why I am supposed to earn, especially to the family because, for them, my husband should be the bread earner. The idea that my husband is not able to fulfill the needs is firstly hard to digest for all, and then the woman of the family is working becomes somewhere shameful for them. You know, ‘aurat ko kamana pad rha hai’ becomes the talk in the family.” Pooja added.
Breaking gender roles is one of the biggest challenges in society. And so does it exist when a woman earns and becomes a bread earner. As people have a habit of finding men holding the position of authority, and taking the financial responsibilities, a woman doing it becomes gossip.
“Since childhood, I have always seen both my mom and dad working. But it was an undeniable fact that my dad’s working was seen as something that was how it was supposed to be, and my mom working was something that was created out of necessity to make ends meet. In fact, my mother always does the household chores as that’s seen as her work. Also, another thing that I noticed while growing up was that she always pretends that she doesn’t need to work, she is doing it as a hobby, not something they wanted to do or liked doing.” said Shantanu, a 22-year-old MSc. Student based in Punjab.
Women’s career is not treated as seriously as men’s
“I was a passionate CA before I got married. My inlaws said they won’t allow me to work after marriage. It didn’t hit me much at that time, but now when I look back, I feel I had left my dream, my career, my everything for marriage.” said a 7 years married woman based in West Bengal.
“Now, I have a kid and a husband to look after and that’s all I have. My husband often says that I should start working again now, but he never says this because it was my dream, his tone is always suggestive of the fact that I should do something to keep myself busy,” she added
Well, had it been her husband, it is way too obvious that such a proposition wouldn’t have been in front of him.
Seeing working after marriage undermines the value of becoming financially independent
“Financial independence is paramount. My mom always says that when a woman is financially independent, she has the ability to live life on her own terms. I think that was the soundest advice that I ever got. No matter where you go in life or who you get married to, you have to be financially independent – whether you use it or not.” – Priyanka Chopra, Actor, and Entrepreneur.
It’s an undeniable fact that financial independence is the first and foremost thing that could give women a sense of confidence. When women earn, they get to overcome the baggage that they are dependent on their husbands. And this particular fact adds a lot to their idea of independence.
And well, the endpoint of this discussion is that there’s no end. There’s an absolute lack of acceptance in society for the breaking of gender roles. It’s the mindset of people that needs changes. And not just men, but women also need to get over the stereotypes that society enforces. After all, when men are not supposed to explain why they are earning, why should women? If men are not supposed to sugarcoat their career goals with the idea of ‘making the ends meet, why should women be doing it?