Housewives in these miserable circumstances often became hysterical cleaners. They wore their lives away in an endless round of scouring, scrubbing, and polishing. The increased strain in working women comes from the reality that they carry most of the child-rearing and household responsibilities. According to social trends (1996), women always or usually do the washing in 79 percent of cases and decide the menu 59 percent of the time. Picking up the children at school or doing grocery shopping are just a few of the many typical household-tasks a woman takes on every day. Why are most of these responsibilities borne by women?
The historical role of women is part of the answer. Despite the fact that we know instinctively that caregiving is valuable and important work, it has gone largely unrecognized and unacknowledged because we take it for granted. In the past, many parents felt that school education for girls was a waste of time, ‘A woman’s place is in the home’ was the traditional view. In those days, housewives had a tough life and were completely dependent on the men for money.
There was a lot of drudgery in their lives and the men didn’t help with the household chores, it was ‘women’s work’. The housewife worked from dawn to dusk and there was a lot of truth in the old saying; ‘a woman’s work is never done’. However, women have made optimistic al progress towards equality and their role in the society has been changed dramatically since the last century. Many women stepped out of their home and start to work at factories and offices. The number of working women with children has more than doubled in the past 50 years.
While working conditions for women may have improved, there is a lack of appreciation for the notion that work for most women doesn’t end at the door of a factory or office. Despite an increase of women’s participation in the labour force, women’s share of housework has hardly changed in 50 years. Women come home from work to the ‘second shift’ — laundry, cleaning, cooking, tutoring. Working women have up to an estimated 21 hours of work more per week than men have.
Their free time has actually been declining in the last 20 years. Modern women, despite having the aid of technologies such as dishwasher and vacuum cleaner, find themselves working longer hours. They continued on performing most of the routine and mundane chores, coping with the unexpected – spilled milk and lost homework. Statistics has shown that women are also the people most likely to take time off to care for the ill or the elderly. The negative effect on women’s incomes is never overcome.
It is no surprise to hear that women working full-time in the labour force make 70 percent as much as men working full-time. Even when fathers play an active role in parenting, the kinds of caregiving that tend to be mothers’ responsibilities are precisely the kinds that are likely to take them away from their jobs unexpectedly: illness, for example. Fathers are more likely to take their children to special events, things which are easier to plan for. The burden of housework has made impact on women’s health.
In fact, 38 percent of working mothers are classified as stressed. If we want to change this, we have to appreciate all the housework, really valuing caregiving. Although this won’t happen over one night, but we can start with the small things: give your mum a helping hand, share the work from now on. words: 657.