What Prevents Women From Working In India?

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“When your husband is earning well then why should you work.”
“Husband is going out to work. You should stay at home to take care of the house.”

We talk about women empowerment. But are women in India empowered? The fact is India still lags in the number of ‘working women.’ Let us have a look at the reasons that prevent women from working in India in detail.

These are some of the things that women willing to work have to listen to.

Cultural Expectations and Societal Pressure

Throughout the country, there are cultural expectations and the societal pressure that women should stop working after their marriage and prioritize housework over their jobs.  According to cultural notions, any woman’s commitment to her family should be primary and her commitment to work should be secondary. But often, a woman’s “family is more important” approach comes at the cost of their professional ambitions.

We live in a male-dominated society. It is expected that a woman will take care of husband, kids, in-laws, cooking, cleaning and all other household chores. The husband will go out to earn since earning is men’s work. This pressure of conforming to the traditional gender roles restrict women having career aspirations.

Many times, it is seen that as soon as girls finish their studies, their parents start looking for a potential groom for them. It doesn’t matter whether the girl has settled down in her career or not. After getting married, all life decisions of Indian women are determined by the husband and his family. It depends on their husband or her in-laws whether they want to allow their bahu to go outside and work or not. Well, still many of them think in the 21st century that the women are meant to work in the kitchen and only men are supposed to earn.  Women are told that their husband is earning a good income or having a government job, so there is no need for them to earn. They can manage household chores and errands.

Women are encouraged to go for jobs such as teaching and nursing rather than other professional jobs.

women working

Women- Secondary Income Earners

Women earning for a family are generally regarded as secondary income earners in their homes. Families feel proud when women quit their jobs, proving that males can support the family very well. This attitude encourages a woman to withdraw when household wealth increases.

Lesser Opportunities and the Pay Gap

Many companies refrain from taking married women into their companies as they pre-assume that women will quit having children. And if they have children, they are still paid less than their male counterparts.

In unorganized sectors such as agriculture, women are paid relatively lower than men citing differences in capability. Also, women get a lower pension than men. It is a common observation that a woman’s skills and competencies are often undervalued.

Safety Issues and Working Environment

The work environment of an organization sometimes acts as a deterrent for women willing to work. Cases of molestation and sexual harassment at workplaces are on a rise. Many women face sexual harassment at their workplaces. It is one of the primary reasons why women leave their jobs. Those who dare to speak up are often fired from the companies. The ill-condition of women in the informal sector is not even discussed properly. Women prefer jobs that are ‘at home’ or ‘close to their homes.’

Therefore, many factors prevent women from working in India. First of all, a change in attitude towards working women is mandatory. Women should be allowed to be financially independent just like men. Only then we can succeed as a society.

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