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A Second Take On Indian Housewives!

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By Anushri Saxena:

A ‘happy married life forever after’ is always viewed as the ultimate goal for a woman by her parents. They want to see their girl settled down and prospering. However, in all the haste of grabbing opportunities and making every effort not to miss them, girls are married off at an early age of 19-21, the very moment the mother lays her eyes on a suitor.

In this whole process, education tends to take a backseat. Some twenty years back this was the case, when families looked for girls who could take care of the house. Working women were thought of as heretical, a threat to the patriarchal ways and vulnerable to the running-trends.

Hence, housewives were the most sought-after brides then. They fit the bill – served well in a joint family, the kitchen loved them, mixed properly with the relatives, and from time to time they inculcated the ancestral sanskars in children. It was a happy existence, indeed, for the woman as well. But the ‘forever after’ was not bound to last for long. The emergence of a new-age woman broadened perspectives and possibilities for every woman.

Twenty-five years after the marriage, when their children are well-settled in their career field, which had once been her earnest dream; the woman is forced to question her abilities and her identity. When the picture of an urban-woman is thrown to her face she can’t help but notice what she has been missing.

Despite the urge to change, this new-found dream seems far-fetched to her. The woman is about to enter the evening of her life; which company would want to take a forty-something, inexperienced and unskilled lady?

It is a dilemma faced by thousands of women beneath the glorious veil of metropolitan cities. These women are free- free from their domestic obligations. At first, they succeeded in doing what was expected of them from their parents. Later they devoted themselves to the marital vows. A life dedicated to others. But now, freedom is theirs.

It is all right if they don’t know well a foreign language such as English. None of them must get disheartened. They might have been the best in their class in tougher and other subjects such as mathematics or history. Their worth can not merely be measured in terms of their academic status but the age of experience.

Older non-working women can surely become a part of the various Non-Governmental Organizations. These, normally, have no age-limits. It is not that difficult to get in touch with a NGO nearest to the residence. For starters, how about a local-welfare society? The only thing required is determination and faith in oneself. It’s never too late.

Here are some NGOs in Delhi can be considered:-

All India Parivartan Sewa Samiti

Tel : 91-11-25891160

Archisa the Ray of Light

Tel : 91-098919 12311
Email : archisatherayoflight@gmail.com

Anubhuti Foundation

Tel : 91-11-26932906
Email : anubhutifoundation@yahoo.in

Amnesty International India

Tel : 91-11-41642501
Email : admin@amnesty.org.in , campaigns@amnesty.org.in

Akhil Bhartiya Mahila Jagriti Sansthan – Delhi

Tel : 91-11-25372482
Email : akhil_b_m_j_sansthan@yahoo.co.in

And my personal favourite :

http://www.antidowry.com/index.htm

Img: http://liveindia.tv/india/women-to-get-special-coach-on-delhi-metro/

You must be to comment.
  1. Ankit Dwivedi

    nice….Quite positive approach…!

  2. Bharath

    Some Women simply don’t like to work. I have friends in the age group 20 – 25 all women. They want to get married and be house wives. THEY DONT want to WORK. I think this is not a women issue at ALL. Its a Personal choice. I think there is gender bias against men in this country. Women are FINE.

  3. Col(Retd) MN Gopakumar

    1. Kindly look up an article titled “Kamala Comes Home” at : http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/719214.aspx

    2. The book ‘When Work Doesn’t Work Anymore’ by Elizabeth Perle Mckenna written in 1997, is about a successful career woman, who after 20 years of relentless pursuit of success in a man’s world, (playing by the rules set by men -on ‘man’s terms’-) realizes there was something missing in her life despite achieving everyone of the goals she set for herself in personal and professional sphere. She still liked her work alright, had what she calls a ‘rock solid marriage’; yet this was not what she had thought her life would be like. There is a kind of emptiness. The author narrates the stories of women with similar predicaments and illustrates each point she makes . She also quotes Gloria Steinem (GS) to add weight to her case. One illustrative (GS) quote (on the perceived sense of failure ) is :” If you meet a woman who’s doing wonderfully well professionally, doing great creative things and is completely happy with her work, but does not have the personal life she thinks she should have, she may think she is a failure. Men are the reverse. They can have great personal lives, and think they are failures if they don’t have the job success they think they are supposed to have.” Another one illustrative of the ‘reality’ which which a ‘working mother’ unfortunately has to put up with is is(*) : “ The working world remains a place built for men with full time wives to take care of the rest of the life.”

    I believe a number of other points can be pointed out as to why it is unfair for a mother to be working. However I will not inflict those here now.

    With every good wish and sincere regards,

    Col(Retd) MN Gopakumar.

    PS:

    I have also written on working women ( Women in the Army) . In case you are interested, the links are:

    http://www.indiandefencereview.com/military-and-space/Women-in-the-Indian-Army-I.html

    and

    http://www.indiandefencereview.com/military-and-space/Women-in-the-Indian-Army-I.html

    Regards.

  4. Vidya

    I think some of the comments are trivialising the issue by saying it is a personal choice. Numerous women are denied access to education, work, jobs or activities they want to do citing archaic things like a woman’s place is in the house.It is a gender issue and it has to be set right.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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