There is a dynamic culture of an Indian family that has been going on for generations, i.e. women generally are the caregivers in the family. They are mostly involved in household activities and men generally go out and earn for their family.
Why is it and who has written this norm? Well, it is just a societal and stereotypical norm that has gone on for centuries. There is an ingrained culture that women are made for households work and men are made for the outside world.
Here are some common scenarios that can be seen in every home in India:
You can see the stereotypes all around; it is very common and very natural, and we never question it. When my mother got isolated due to corona, these questions struck my mind. Why do we always ask our mothers to give us a meal or something?
India reported over 9.3 million confirmed cases of the COVID-19; out of this, 24% have been female cases. When my mother was isolated, the family faced a difficult time without her. We as people are unaware of many things regarding the responsibilities of a woman in her family. More than a homemaker, she is the emotional support/pillar of the family.
Everyone in the family has a different connection with her. Whenever we tried to cook something, we had to ask her the recipe, whenever my brother wanted something, he asked her, and my father couldn’t take a single decision without consulting her. These are very common and unnoticed things which a mother or a female member does for her family.
My mother shared her experience of COVID-19 and talked about being asymptomatic (someone who doesn’t have the symptoms of the disease). She had normal body pain that she felt from doing the household chores. Even in isolation, she was worried and continuously helped or guided us through facetime or calls. Other than that, she was dealing with her anxiety issues.
Around 69% of coronavirus patients in India who were tested did not show any symptoms of the infection as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), half of them were housewives who were facing mild symptoms of the coronavirus.
She also spoke about the mental stress and anxiety in that phase as she was most afraid of her family not to get infected by her. Even when she was not infected, the lockdown also stressed her a lot.
Most Indians don’t have an equal sharing of housework; a female member does all the work. The work burden increased as the families were quarantined at home. The man being at home all day means incessant demand for cooked food.
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, over 1,34,516 Indians tried to kill themselves in lockdown. One of the largest groups of suicides and mental health issues were women during the lockdown. The National Commission of Women (NCW) received 23,722 complaints of crimes committed against women in 2020.
After she recovered, her family learnt her value in the family. Now the household work is divided among them and now she has not much work burden. COVID-19 and the resulting hard time has taught us to value people more. Appreciate the person when are close, we don’t know about tomorrow.