This incident dates back to those days when I was graduating from my MBA program. It was almost towards the end of the two-year program. I vividly remember that day.
All the students who were part of the campus placement team were sitting in the conference room of the college.
While we were discussing how to invite companies to our campus, one of my course mates said, “Why are these girls even appearing for an interview? They will screw our chances of getting through. And then about a year or two later they will get married and leave jobs. Who in their family would allow them to work after marriage?”
I got shocked listening to it and questioned him, “Why do you think so? Why can’t these girls work after marriage?”
One of my other coursemates who was supporting the first one said, “Why? Do you think they are appearing for the interviews to make a career out of it? It is just for their ego satisfaction. Nothing more than that.”
On hearing that, I almost lost my mind and shouted at the whole lot, “Trust me; the actual problem is this narrow mindset. And it is not your fault. Most of the parents in our society ingrain their children with this thought process as they are growing. A girl child is made to believe all through her life that she will have to be a stay-home woman after marriage. And right from his childhood, a boy’ s mind is impressed with the belief that girls should stay at home. They should not go out to work.”
And I went on lecturing the whole lot who were supporting that sick mentality.
The debate did not end there. One of them, sarcastically said, “Let’s see Ajit, how well do you manage when it comes on you. We too, would like to see whether you allow your wife to work or not? And whether your parents support that or not?”
I didn’t want to lower the flags and hence retorted, “ Why should she even seek permission from me? If she wishes, she will very well work. And, I will not only support her but would also ensure that all others in my family support her.”
And then with few more rounds of debate, speaking against each other, we dispersed.
It has been thirteen years, ever since that day.
And my wife has been working for the last thirteen years.
Not only that, she has been doing exceptionally good. She is currently an Assistant General Manager at IDBI Bank.
Does that not answer all the doubts my coursemates had, years back?
Although that’s a different story that I married the girl I liked in MBA days. We got placed in different companies in the same year and married two years later.
It was not easy. Trust me, in all these years, there have been numerous occasions when one or the other of us had almost given up.
But we held on and supported each other. And when both of us got frustrated, both sides of our parents supported us. Whatever may have been the situation?
Coming back to the reason I am writing this post. Doesn’t this discussion come up often in our families?
Should women work even after marriage?
If yes, why should women work even after marriage?
If you are a man, how many times has this question crossed your mind?
I am sure plenty of times.
I don’t know if you have supported your woman or not. But I am sure after reading this post you will realize a lot about what you have not given a thought before.
If you are a woman, do you think women should work after marriage?
If yes, why should women work after marriage?
With this post, I am going to put before you, all possible reasons I can think of, why should women work even after marriage?
I am going to split this blog post into four parts:
- The benefit to the women if they work after marriage.
- How will it help the children if the woman of the house works after marriage?
- The advantage to other family members.
- How will it help society in general if the women work after marriage?
How will it benefit the women?
- Independent– She turns a lot more independent if she works after marriage. She would be able to accomplish a lot of work independently outside the home. The man of the house could easily depend on her for chores that only he was supposed to do.
- Her opinion will get regarded: I have seen men saying to their wife, “What do you know of the outside world? You will not understand.” They speak like this only because they feel the women have not seen the world much. If she works after marriage, her opinion and ideas get regarded. And it is all because she too is experiencing the outside world like the man of the house.
- She can keep her passions alive- If she works after marriage, she will have her salary to spend. She will be able to shop and do things that would keep her passion alive. If she wants, she can plan things for her people around. That is what financial freedom brings to a woman.
- Time management becomes better- With her house and office to look after; she will learn how to manage her time more efficiently. Instead of participating in unproductive ladies groups of her society, she would rather focus more on her family after office. She might not have the everyday problems of maids to discuss. But would demonstrate her kids how to manage multiple things in the limited time one has, right from their childhood.
- Becomes better at managing people- If she works, she will have to be a part of a team. She will have to deal with and manage a variety of people. This, in a way, would help her become better at managing people at home. Be they, the maids, drivers, and cooks or the family members.
- Her view of the outside world changes- If she works after marriage, her view of the outside world may change. When she is not working she may not realize how difficult it becomes at times, outside the home. If she works, she may better empathize with her husband.
- She becomes a role model- If she works, the children would see both their parents going to the office. At the same time, they will see her handling the additional responsibility of the house. Unlike the last generation, when we were kids, our kids could grow up idolizing even their mothers. In many cases, they may respect their mother more than they respect their father.
- She learns to let go of many things: After having a long day at the office herself, she will prefer not indulging in any unnecessary arguments. She will learn to let go of many things.
- Learns to value the money more- If the woman works after marriage, she learns to value the money more. We all know it is not easy to spend your hard-earned money. Unnecessary expenses reduce. And she spends only in places where it is necessary.
- Learns gender equality in the real sense- Gender equality is not in demanding equal rights by supporting pseudo-feminism but in earning it earnestly. She would understand it better when she starts working outside the home and competes with other men and women in the corporate world.
How will it benefit the Children?
- Her different experiences outside home would significantly help the children- A working mother would get to see the outside world a lot more than the stay home mother. She would gain everyday experiences of interacting, dealing and managing different types of people. Those experiences would help her mentor her children with much broader perspectives on life.
- Children see and hence learn to manage time better– The children start observing their mother right from their childhood how their mother effectively manages the limited time she has. They will see how she divides the tasks according to priority and delegate them to other members at home and office. They would learn time management in real-time by watching their mother do it almost every day.
- Children will have a legacy not only from their father but also from their mother– So far in the past generations, it was mostly, the man of the house who earned and left a legacy behind for the children. But if the woman of the house also works, the legacy left behind would be from both the parents.
- Children can look up to their mothers- If the mother is working, the children need not depend only on their father for chores outside the home. They can look up to their mother as well for the outside chores.
- If the woman works, the display of gender equality will help the children understand it better– They would right from their childhood see that both men and women can work together, share work, and contribute to the family, both financially and administratively. They would grow up as empathetic adults respectful of the opposite gender.
- Children would become independent, ready to face the world much early in life- The children of working mothers would turn independent and mature much earlier than those under the command of their stay home mothers. With their parents not available all the time to do every minor job for them, the children would learn to manage and do it on their own. They would not get spoon-fed at every step.
“ In a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes”
“A 2010 meta-analysis of 69 studies over 50 years found that in general, children whose mothers worked when they were young had no major learning, behavior or social problems, and tended to be high achievers in school and have less depression and anxiety.”
“Sons raised by working mothers were significantly more likely to have a wife who worked, one well-regarded study led by Ms. Fernandez found. The men might have preferred to marry a woman who worked, the researchers concluded, or were better partners at home to working wives.”
“Across 25 countries, 69 percent of women with a working mother were employed, and 22 percent were supervisors, compared with 66 percent and 18 percent of those whose mothers stayed home. Daughters of working mothers earned 6 percent more.”
How will it benefit the other family members?
- Financial support to the family– One plus one is two. Income coming from two would always be more than one. All of us know this basic calculation. Don’t we? But when it is about accepting and supporting the woman of the house to work, it makes sense to only a few.
- It will improve the standard of living– With more income for the family; the overall standard of living will improve. The family would lead a much better life without compromising on the basics of life.
- If the woman works, any one of them can go independent and start a business- With a few years of good planning and decent savings, the man or the woman of the house, whoever wants to go independent, can start a business. With one partner’s salary to fall back upon, the other can take the risk of experimenting and leading an entrepreneurial journey.
- The working couple shares the work at home much more than others- The couple tends to share work at home much more in families where the woman is working than those where she is not. This is true, especially for nuclear families.
- Help to the old grandparents- Even if the man of the house is not available because of his work engagements, none of the work of the old grandparent’s would remain pending. The working woman who is adept at handling every task that the man of the house can handle will become a great help to the parents.
- Family members may not have to depend on the man of the house for financial support every time- If the woman is working, any of the family members can ask for financial help from her, whenever they need it. They may not have to necessarily depend on the man of the house for their every small need.
How will it benefit society?
- The total income of society would increase significantly- With the contribution also coming from the working women, the per capita income would increase. It will improve the gross domestic product (GDP) of society and hence that of the country. All of this would significantly improve the country’s economic ranking in the world.
Annette Dixon, World Bank South Asian vice president, in women’s forum said in her speech,
“In 2012, only 27 percent of adult Indian women had a job or were actively looking for one, compared to 79 percent of men. In fact, almost 20 million women had dropped out of the workforce between 2005 and 2012”
“India ranks 120 among 131 countries in female labor force participation rates and rates of gender-based violence remain unacceptably high. It’s hard to develop in an inclusive and sustainable way when half of the population is not fully participating in the economy. At 17% of GDP, the economic contribution of Indian women is less than half the global average, and compares unfavorably to 40% in China, for instance. India could boost its growth by 1.5 percentage points to 9 percent per year if around 50% of women could join the workforce.
- The per capita expenditure of a household would increase, contributing to the economy at large- The total income increase, owing to the contribution coming from the working women, would lead to more residual income. It would, in a way, encourage every family to spend more. The increase in expenditure by each family would lead to greater consumerism. And greater consumerism would symbolize greater prosperity for the country.
- Being the role model– By being a role model, in their own families, they would encourage the girls and other women in their families to go out and earn, which in turn would lead to greater prosperity for the country.
Now tell me, is it not important that we help, support and encourage the women of our families to work even after marriage.
At least I believe so.
It is quite possible that I may not have been successful in impressing your thought process in a big way. But yes, I am confident that I must have made you think seriously on “Why Should women work even after marriage?”
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