Financial equality in the times of gender equality

          Wife of a Kingfisher employee commits suicide as her husband was not paid his salary for past four months. The incident indeed brought to light, once again, the messed up HR policies and the screwed up financial state of the company, but is that it?
         What about the lady who took this extreme step? In all the "good times", her husband was by her side, fulfilling his responsibility towards her and his family, did every possible thing to keep her happy, but in the "not so good times", she succumbed to the stressful situations and left him by ending her life instead of standing by him and being his support.
         Although in my opinion, the decision of that lady was a feeble and irresponsible one, but I also feel that blaming her alone would be unfair. Somewhere, somehow, its the entire society that's responsible. She ain't the one alone, there are many more women out there in our society, who in the times of difficulty, unfortunately even the financial ones, chose to leave their husbands instead of being their support. This maybe their weakness, but an equally important point is that, our society, maybe unknowingly, at every step puts the financial responsibility on men alone.
         A girl marrying a guy of  higher economic status is no big deal but a guy marrying a girl of higher economic status attracts raised eyebrows, why? Wives changing locations for the careers for their husbands is a common sight, but husbands doing the same is a rare one. When a husband has to change a city for his career, the wife follows him, but when a husband has to do the same, in most cases, the wife, generally, either declines the opportunity or quits the job. why? Maternal leaves are common, why not paternal leaves? A women stays back home and runs the house with the money her husband earns and its ok, but if a husband stays at home and runs the house with his wife's money, or at times, even when he works and his wife works as well, he is touted with statements like, "biwi ki kamaai khata hai." why? If a housewife deserves respect for her contribution in making a house a home while her husband being the major financial contributor, why is same not the case with men having their wives as the major financial contributor? Why is he looked down at for being on a paternal leave or having a working wife or for shifting location for his wife's career? Why a women being more successful than her man attracts raised eyebrows?
         All the above mentioned questions have just one answer: our orthodox outlook. Even in this 21st century, we believe that its men who should be entirely responsible for the financial state of a household. We raise our girls with a similar notion and this is how we produce feeble women, who prefer succumbing to pressure rather than standing by their husbands in the times of distress. That is the precise reason why gender diversity is a current matter of concern for the MNC-HR arena.
         Of course times have a changed and women now are a lot more independent but that is mostly the case only in metros and the tire 2 cites. The real India and the Indian women do exist far beyond. Although in these metro and tier two city areas, many women have entered the "provider" zone and are equally shouldering the financial needs of a house, the percentage of such women is still very less. In fact, in these developed regions, there also exists a large number of families that believe that the financial security of a family is primarily the responsibility of men, and this mentality is reflected in the upbringing of the next generation that they are nurturing. Let us take a small example, even today, when couples go on a date, including the one's in the metros, in most cases the boy pays the bill. Times are changing and parents in such metropolitan cities are pretty much open and frank with there children now, so what is it that stop girls from taking the responsibility. Of course, there are genuine cases where girls really cannot afford or stay in an extremely strict and monitoring environment, but this situation persists even in cases where girls come from free environment and can afford a date. This tradition stays on with them in their later life as well and eventually, even they start believing that the financial needs of a relationship are solely and completely the responsibility of men. Even worse, men start relating it to their ego.
         Its time that this notion changes. Of course, being a house wife is an act of immense responsibility and deserves deep respect, but we also need to make our women understand that times are not the same always. At times, things may go wrong with their husbands and at that point, they need to get up, take responsibility and be the strength and support of their men, rather than leaving their side.
         We women, are much more blessed than men. We are the mother of this universe. Yes, men are much more stronger than us physically, but emotionally, biologically and mentally we are the ones who score more. For ages, we have been known for our multi-tasking abilities. Men mostly need to stop being practical to be emotional and vice-a-versa, but that is not the case with us. We can handle home, work, relationships, kitchen, office, children, husband, boss, parents...all simultaneously. This is our true potential, but having potential won't suffice alone. We need to tap it to the maximum as well. Being the mother of the universe, we have our rights, but we have our duties as well. For years, women in India have been deprived of their rights and privileges. Today, we are much more aware and are demanding what we deserve, but we must also make sure that we stand by our responsibilities, for rights and duties are the two sides of the same coin. We have every right to demand gender equality, but then, it is also necessary that we put our 100% into everything that is a part of our life and do not hold men "completely and solely responsible" for anything. We are equally responsible....for we are EQUAL. So, when required, instead of stepping back, we should take the responsibility, equally and give our best to it.


P.S. :-This article no where aims at under-estimating the value of a housewife/house-maker. In fact, if ever made to make a choice between my family and my career, even I would happily choose my family over my career. The basic point here is that we need to have an upbringing with a belief that the responsibility of financial needs of a relationship/marriage are of both the partners and not just the men. This would also help in women being more independent and self-reliant. We would be house wives not because we believe that financial needs is solely the responsibility of men or because we aren't capable of being the "provider".... in fact our decision to be a house wife will just be out of the love and care that we have for our family and at the same time, we would be confident, experienced, responsible and strong enough that if at any point of time, things go wrong with our husbands, we ll be able to support them and be by their side like a rock, instead of leaving them alone in the times of crisis.

Comments

  1. I agree with almost everything u said, except on the maternal and paternal leave...The fact of matter is, there are paternal leaves as well, and besides, the duration of maternal leaves is longer because Women endured the pain of child birth, and its only a woman who can take better care of baby in the initial days...U shud be proud of the fact that maternal leaves are more in number.

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  2. Interesting capture "financial equality in the times of Gender equality"

    I'm a big time advocate of both genders taking responsibilities for their financial future and otherwise but at the same time not ignoring the spelled out duties for each genders by Nature. The inbuilt mechanism of both genders tells of their expected areas of contribution in advancement of the home-front and the general humanity

    A wife has limitation especially in her child bearing period of her to what she could contribute that calls for the man to carry her along

    In a situation where a lady is more advantaged than her man; I don't subscribe to giving her man money but she could fund his projects to help the man stand

    In all both genders have specific roles designated to them by nature and our first responsibility is to find out what. Those are and then implement them with deep understanding.

    Personally, inasmuch as I wanna see and help my wife make it to the peak of her career; I don't want to loose her emotions. I don't want to see her transfer her emotions and passions for me to a profession and at the same time, I don't want her to be a housewife and waste her potentials and talents; we have got to strike the balance and that is where deep understanding comes to play.

    Princess welldone, this topic is thought provoking.

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  3. i appreciate the topic you have discussed here... and i also am of view that every women should not waste her potential by just sitting home and should rather go out to work and support her family.... unless its her own choice and the situation demands it...

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  4. Completely with you on this, Rupali. You've articulated it so well. Each parent should make sure he or she makes the daughter totally self reliant by exposing her to skills that any individual needs to work in an outside environment. Once equipped with those, as long as the circumstances permit, leave it to her to decide what primary role she wants to assume in a marriage - that of housewife, of being a part contributor to the family income, of being the primary bread winner, or being the sole breadwinner. Why must society attach a stigma to any? And in the same breath, it is unfortunate that men who may choose to stay at home attract flak and ridicule, not just in our country but the world over.

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