How A Pandemic Has Managed To Bring Gender Balance To Some Indian Households

By | August 17, 2020

With 2020 forcing us to adapt and play multiple roles in our daily lives, the one good thing we’re seeing is greater levels of gender parity with respect to day-to-day household tasks. 

For years, society has defined various roles for men and women based on their sex, resulting in gender-defined activities and expectations. In fact, most baby boomers pride themselves at utilising these defined roles optimally to achieve what they term ‘perfect balance’ – the woman manages the household while the man goes to work and earns a living for both of them.

Thankfully, the next generation broke out of this mould and ushered in a more open-minded way of life. The untapped potential of women in the workplace was unleashed, and the rest was history, well almost. Even today, there are subtle examples of gender-based expectations that exist in some modern households.

“I’ll Help You Maintain The House”

It’s amusing how many men think they’re doing a favour when it comes to carrying out household tasks. Imagine the outcry if a woman took this stance? Society still finds it so hard to digest statements such as “I don’t like cooking, hence I don’t cook” from a woman while the same statement invites an approving humorous reaction when it is stated by a young man. Times are changing for good, for sure, with more millennials perceiving their partners for the human being they are rather than their gender. However, the subtle presence of gender expectations still lurks around the corner.

Come April 2020, all of us were confined to our four walls as we went into lockdown to combat the COVID-19 virus. As we continue to stay home and stay safe from it, the one positive change that many households are seeing is the equal division of household work between the man and the woman. I remember a few instances in the past where my fellow male friends would pride themselves over helping their respective spouse with the dishes – almost as if they had moved mountains.

The pandemic has now normalised these tasks for both genders, i.e. just the way nobody would highlight how a woman is keeping dishes clean and working from home at the same time, lesser and lesser men are beating their chests about doing household work; it took a pandemic to make this happen!

Additional Reading: Financial Planning For Women

“Home Expenses – That’s Your Domain, Right?”

The classic baby-boomer approach to managing finances is that the husband takes care of the “big” financial decisions while the housewife is allotted a budget to acquire provisions and other daily goods. A man’s participation in household budgeting was almost non-existent until recent times.

Now, however, couples have had real-life experiences of how to plan ahead and book a Big Basket slot or prioritise necessities, and this has brought about a much more equal participation from both parties when it comes to checking home inventory, stocking up when required and also checking daily expenses – thus, another activity that is finally being shared (about time, right?!)

Adult Life Skills Over Gender-Based Roles

Barring all the negative aspects of 2020, the one learning that every man can take away from this experience is that, at the end of the day, nothing matters other than equal participation. With both the husband and the wife managing cooking, office work, cleaning, and everything else in between, the pandemic experience has organically brought in a much fairer equation in a few households where, probably, this could have never been achieved.

How strange is it that when human beings are put in the most primitive human state, i.e, survival, they tend to think in the most progressive way!

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