Friday, February 28, 2014

The Household Rat Race

For people like me, office work is a welcome break from domestic issues, and home is a place to shake off the work pressure. The change in the kind of work, environment, and people gives us time to reflect upon ourselves. We do a lot of work at home and at office for everything to run smoothly. But there’s one question that always lingers in my mind: Why do most women feel dissatisfied with their work?

We have heard about the corporate rat race, but have you heard of the household rat race? Let me explain. Consider a typical Indian couple. Although both the man and the wife have corporate jobs outside the home, the wife takes care of 90% of the household work. The man completes the rest 10%. This is a typical scenario in most Indian families.

At the end of the day, this is what the man feels: “Wow! I help my wife so much with the household work. She’s lucky to have me. I never saw men contributing this much in these mundane tasks.”
And this is what the woman feels: “Oh God! I couldn't complete the 10% of the work that I am supposed to. Am I not lucky to have found a partner who really helps me? I wish I could manage everything on my own without depending on anybody.”

Do you see the difference?

That’s what is a household rat race. It is a common mistake to assume that all the household work is the responsibility of the woman of the house, and that she’s fortunate to get help. What we don’t realize is that household work is a shared responsibility of everyone in the house.

Why does this happen?

Because in India where Agriculture was the main occupation back in the old days, men toiled in the fields, and women managed the household, thus arriving at the norm. I read somewhere that in Sweden, both men and women had to share Agricultural work to provide for the family because Sweden was a poor country. That led to an equal sharing of work at home too.

Now that more women are entering the workforce, I hope that more families in India follow the Sweden way.


  1. I think Our India is the only country where women and men dont need to share their household work...m feminist...totally agree to this!

  2. @Maddy: Countires like Afghanistan are worse. But still, we are way behind compared to many countires. M happy that the situation is improving, although very gradually.