When A Teenage Boy Told My Friend Why He Wouldn’t Marry A Working Woman

Posted by Manmitha Deepthi in Sexism And Patriarchy
March 14, 2017

“I would never marry a woman who is working or has a job.” This is what an Indian male (let’s call him Raj) said to my friend (I am naming her Priya). I was shocked when she told me about it and asked her more details of the argument.

So, Raj and Priya were arguing over the fact that girls can’t be sanskari (traditional) and dedicated housewifves along with a good employee or boss at her workplace. Raj took it a step further and said, “I will clarify with my wife that she never works or has a job.

It took me a few moments and a lot of swearing to get over this conversation. I questioned myself whether I live in the 21st century where feminism, gay rights and women empowerment make for almost every conversation. Here was this boy, shattering all my hopes on Indian men. If a teenage boy’s thought process correlates with that of our grand-parents, it would be impossible to imagine an India where both men and women are independent, let alone equal.

What followed in their conversation was the scariest part for me. Raj was defending his opinion on moral grounds. Now, Priya is a very ambitious and studious girl. She is of the opinion that women have the right to work and compete with men at all levels (which most people agree with these days) and she herself wants to work independently and earn money. Why shouldn’t she if it’s her passion?

Well, to this our Raj answered, “That’s why men earn, so that women can spend the money and my mom, who has been a dedicated house-wife for her whole life, should get some time to rest when her daughter-in-law comes and takes over her role.” I was reminded of a certain chauvinistic school-master from Rabindranath Tagore’s “The Lost Jewels”.

This argument from Raj reflected that for most men, women are mere child bearers and care-takers. They can’t imagine a woman being the President of the country or the CEO of a company. They might support feminism but would rather not have a feminist wife or family member! Hypocrisy is perhaps embedded in Indian genes.

Priya, being morally imbibed by the traditional expectations of women as well as developing the 21st century views, defended her opinion saying, “Well, why do you think that a woman cannot be both, a sincere house-wife as well as a good employee at her workplace?”  The debate ensued for a while but, there was no convincing the other. Both of them held stubbornly to their views. For one it was a question of her freedom and rights while for the other, it was a tradition meant to be followed.

Therefore, I ask you this question. Do you think it is impossible for a woman to be both a devoted house-wife along with a worthy employee?