View Full Version : Bangalore article: Your thoughts?
05-22-2007, 11:37 AM
I'm in India this week and found the following editorial in the Bangalore Economic Times. The title was "Working Women in 2016: The Shape of Things to Come". Excerpt:
"Most reasonably educated women have worked out that their maximum contribution to the family's progress lies in being professional home managers and mothers. It is their performance as family managers and mothers which gets themn the most respect in the extended family circle. Women themselves don't want to give up the family leadership role to concentrate on careers."
Am I a jaundiced ageing feminist, or is the author advocating the "barefoot and pregnant" style of womanhood? The author's name is Hamsini Shivakumar. Is this a man or a woman?
I am profoundly grateful to the actuarial field because it has allowed me a way to provide well for my family and do work I love. I was able to leave a bad marriage and still provide for my son and I can now make enough money that my second husband (15 years older than I am) can enjoy the comfortable retirement he's earned and my son will graduate from college with no debts.
So, do the women in the actuarial field in India really want to give it all up to take on their role as "professional home managers and mothers"?
05-22-2007, 04:15 PM
The author is a woman.
India has changed a lot, for the good, in the last decade. I am 30+ . In the last decade, there has been a spurt of job opportunities , more awareness about career/growth in the actuarial field( than when i was in college) .Most capuses have a 100% job placements,thanks to all the out-sourcing.
A lot of my friends were working couples.Some still are. This time, in my visit to India, when i met them,quite a few had quit their job to provide better home for the kids. Some were seriously contemplating the choice. The ones who continued to work were clearly folks who had kids in middle -school as opposed to elementary school. One reason that i could think of , was probably India does NOT have the 9-5 work . Its always definitely more than 40 hours a week. The ones who have decided to sit back for a while agreed on this as being a major factor. The work hours are much too long .Then there isnt much time/energy you can give for the kids. Life in always on the run. One of my friends quoted" I dont want to lose out on the kids, doing my work all the time".Another said" My hubby brings home enough money,I think we can all have a better life, if i choose to stay at home". So, the choice was very personal.A lady chooses to become teh domestic godess. I also do have a few friends who feel there is no reason for the ladies to sit back. Yet, I am not completely wrong when i say that most Indian men are not very helpful around the house/esp the kitchen. They can go to Timbaktu & would still want a detailed Indian cuisine. The preparation & clean-up time entails a lot of work. So, if a woman works , she would have to come back home & would still have to do these chores. And the men i am talking about are VERY educated and aware individuals, but you cant get them to help you. Its just them. I am sorry to offend anyone by saying this, but i have seen quite a few. I am not meaning to typecast anyone here.
Maybe the author has stated some biased facts. From what I have seen, its not like India is heading that way, though thats what the author's statement makes it feel like.
05-22-2007, 08:45 PM
Thanks! I agree that the analysts who work in our offices in India tend to work crazy hours because they have to be in touch with North America, and when that's how your job works it can be very hard to keep working and see your child only when he/she is asleep. The women I've talked to have also pointed out that you can't cook meals on the weekend to eat during the week because if your electricity goes out, the food spoils. Finally, I did have an interesting discussion with one of the guys who drove me to our office a few years ago. I was describing my situation- semi-retired husband who doews all the cooking and most of the cleaning. He said Indian men would never do that- "it's a cultural thing".
But it's interesting that, while the phenomenon the author described is real, the reason may not be the glory of being a "professional home manager and mother" but the fact that many women with high-power jobs in India don't have the support system they need to be able to balance work and family responsibilities.
I hope I'm not offending anyone, either- this is my 3rd visit to India and I love it here. I'm just trying to understand it.
05-25-2007, 06:10 AM
could India go the way of Hong Kong? Cheap in house permanent labor thus the women have a career if she wants and hires out the household stuff?
05-26-2007, 08:21 AM
GP, cheap household help is plentiful in India and that's the route many women take. Two inhibiting factors are work hours (I don't care if you have Mary Poppins is your nanny, you still want to see the kids when they're awake) and family pressures. I've known of women who quit because they married and the husband's family didn't want her to work.
Interesting times for India.
05-30-2007, 05:45 AM
True enough.....also, is it still prevalent in society that the woman must take care of her husbands family (feed etc.) or is that a bygone custom or a myth?
05-30-2007, 08:43 AM
Among the working crowd, it is changing, but to a large extent it still exists.
And for the mass that represents India, it is the woman's duty to cook & feed & clean.
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