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28 Aug

An online petition from women calls on PM Modi to tell men to share household chores

An Indian lady has created an online petition on asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell Indian males to share home duties equally with women. She now has 70,060 signatures on her petition, which she wants to increase to 75,000.


"During this lockdown, India's women have suffered the most from an unequal division of unpaid home labour. However, women having childcare jobs is still hidden, and no one wants to correct this egregious inequality, writes Mumbai native and co-founder of the ReRight Foundation Subarna Ghosh in her petition. Under lockdown, the lack of household assistance has further reinforced oppressive gender stereotypes. Ghosh struggled to manage her career and the house since her husband, a banker, was "not the sort to help with housekeeping." Her husband and kids cleaned up the mess after realizing she was furious and stopped doing the dishes and washing to show her protest at home.

She expressed annoyance at this unequal strain of chores because Ghosh claimed that the "personal is political." She writes in her petition, "If Mr Modi can motivate us to clap our hands in unison and light lamps, he can encourage us to change an unfair custom that oppresses women in every family." Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of Kerala, had also asked males to "assist women in domestic tasks during lockdown" at the beginning of April. And while the CM's request that men only share the burden of domestic duties drew criticism for reinforcing the idea that these tasks are, in essence, a woman's job, many people also applauded the politician for taking a stance on the issue.

In India, the notion that women should be in charge of domestic duties is so strongly instilled in our culture that even women find it difficult to accept the idea that males should contribute equally while being irritated and overburdened by never-ending household duties under lockdown. Women in Ghosh's neighbourhood, who are also struggling with the increased burden, were asked about this uneven division of duties, and their comments revealed this institutionalized gender bias: "Many asked me, 'How can he cook or clean?'" Many wives applauded their husbands for being laid back. They would remark, "He's extremely kind; he eats without criticizing anything I make.

Even though women are unfairly burdened with childcare and household duties, figures from India show a startling gender disparity. In India, males contributed less than 10% of the burden of unpaid housework, according to an ILO research published in 2018. However, none of the nations examined by the organization represented the ideal gender parity. According to a survey by Oxfam, Indian women endure daily unpaid household labour totalling almost three billion hours. And according to the analysis, if this home activity were given a monetary value, it would boost India's GDP by trillions of rupees.