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Women Working, or Working Women?

Approving of women working is not the same as approving of working women.

How are women working in the urban context? They are working to get away from homes or they are working within homes to get away from workplaces. In both cases, women are working incessantly towards finding space and safety to negotiate better arrangements in life. These days, working from home is trendy, especially since the unpaid caregiver is part of the gender-specific package of roles slammed on to women. Women find opportunities to work from home so that their reproductive roles are not compromised while pursuing professional goals. In fact, according to various studies on workforce composition, there is a terribly slow increase in the proportion of women workers finding work within formal employment sectors. This trend indicates a strategic discrimination against women, denying them adequate compensation, benefits, and their contribution towards economic activities. Women’s work is rooted in gender-specific presumptions that women are caregivers, nurturers and custodians of resources, service providers, housekeepers, and food producers and processors. Recently, a young female relative shared that she doesn’t like competition in the workplace and that’s why she still hesitates to work outside her home after her child was born.

Some women work from home as stock market investors since they are familiar with online systems. There are others who work as translators, transcriptionists, and transliterationists from home. Some women are also working from home as bakers, tutors, craft workers, dress designers, photographers, film-makers, writers, editors, authors, beauticians, hostel owners, beauty product dealers, kitchenware dealers, apparel dealers, interior decorators, dancers, home chefs, event caterers, and art and music teachers. Women in urban settings work from home after they go through lifecycle changes like marriage, childbirth, death of near ones, and their own mental or physical transitions. Women make too many adjustments to fit their careers within the threshold of their domestic priorities. With age, men escalate their career through seniority, power, and position in society. Even after they retire they find prestigious appointments as advisors, mentors, guides and leaders of different institutions, whereas for women such positions are few and far between. Even though women are skilled practitioners in specialised fields such as medicine, law, engineering, scientific research, journalism, architecture, social work, sports and athletics, and performing arts, somehow with age, they fail to continue with their field of expertise. Such examples are present in every household in urban, educated India.

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Updated On : 27th Jan, 2017


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