21st century women have a tough job on hand. Not only are they expected to excel in their professional capacities, but also to maintain those “inherent” “womanly” qualities that they have supposedly been endowed with. And for all the celebrations about Indian women who know how to strike a balance between work and home, the state provides little support to encourage them. Lack of day care centres for their children, safety concerns and sexual harassment at workplace are issues that women continue to grapple with.
Not surprsingly, women rarely have successful careers, though they might have jobs in modern India. The surge in the number of boutiques and women party planners in two-tier Indian cities like Lucknow is probably a result of this realisation. These are careers that allow women flexi-timings to take care of their families as well as pursue their creative ambitions. An increasing number of women are exploring work opportunities within the socially acceptable ambit of their family businesses. Women are enouraged to take up jobs like teaching, as my college teacher once pointed out, because it gives them ample time to make achars and realise ambitions! But not every woman wants to be a teacher, to run a boutique or to give up a rising career graph for motherhood!
An article in today’s The Times of India celebrates the spirit of mompreneurs — a term being used for immigrant mothers in the US who have created successful work-from-home career models. Imagine, if these women were full time working women, how successful they would be! Working from home is a wonderful option, but why just for women? If it’s as good as it’s touted to be, then why don’t men also give up their plum posts to spend more time with their families? Isn’t this the 21st century that we were taking about where parenting is as much the dad’s as the mom’s responsibility.
I don’t understand why we must continue to celebrate choices women make when they compromise. Perhaps it makes everyone feel better about it!