Back in March as the nationwide lockdown confined families within the premises of their homes, many women across the country faced a challenging predicament. Just a few days after the lockdown, a sharp spike in the domestic abuse cases was reported by the National Commission for Women. But, that perhaps was just the tip of the iceberg. While many of these cases, in fact, must have gone unreported, there were other issues that went mostly unnoticed, household chores being one of them.
With the lockdown in effect, many women were suddenly overwhelmed with crushing amounts of household chores. The fact that there wasn't any house helps didn't help either. And while one would like to think that the family members must have eased the load, seems like that wasn't the case either. In fact, Subarna Ghosh from Mumbai, co-founder of an NGO called ReRight Foundation, was so done with all the household chores alone that she has started a change.org petition urging PM Modi to help her with the task. "PM Modi: tell Indian men to do an equal share of household chores in your next speech," the petition reads.
"I’m Subarna, a working mother from Mumbai. Being homebound has defined this lockdown for most of us who have a home. And the effort required to keep our homes functional and families cared for has never been more evident. While COVID-19 has brought upon us a sudden, multi-dimensional crisis, the resulting lockdown has forced us to confront the long-pending issue of unpaid care work shouldered by women in our homes. Unequal distribution of unpaid household work has rendered the harshest blow to women across India during this lockdown. Yet, women’s care work continues to be invisible and no one wants to address this gross imbalance," she has further written in the petition.
In her petition, Subarna has urged PM Modi to take cognizance of all the household chores that the entire family depends on but are mostly managed by women as part of his 'Atmanirbhar' vision. "I live with my husband and two children in India’s urban heartland. And I feel exhausted bearing this unfair share of the workload. The fatigue from being overworked is palpable amongst women in most Indian homes. Some even bear the ‘double burden’ of having a paid job," she writes.
Subarna's petition isn't too far from its goal of 75k signatures as it has already managed to get approximately 70k of them. If you were to support one cause today, we insist that it must be this one. As per a 2020 report by Oxfam India, Indian women together perform approximately 3 billion hours of unpaid domestic work every day and this can actually contribute trillions to Indian GDP if these chores had a monetary value attached to them. Well, that's both as impressive and as bleak as it sounds. Here's hoping that Subarna's petition lays the ground for a positive change.