We often speak about gender discrimination as it is highly politicised, picturised and spoken loud enough for everyone to opine about. And it is so deeply engrained in our world that one needs to continuously talk about it. This is an absolute truth that, as long as we are not convinced of our voices being heard, we will keep talking about.
Unfortunately what is being highlighted to us through social media platforms about discrimination is that either it happens in the lower or higher stratas of our society.
Which makes me realise what about the middle strata? What is happening in the middle class?
According to 2016 data, around 122 million households belonged to the middle income group, but women accounted for only 19.9% of the total labour force. The ladies who belong to this middle group are marginalised and discriminated against on the basis of salary, skill level and are often downgraded.
But a hardcore fact which we need to acknowledge and accept is, ladies of this group are the backbones of their families. They are highly educated and talented but somewhere along the way, these ladies have compromised on their salary, their status and fame over the well being of others.
They are often overlooked and because of their silence and utter commitment towards their families, they become a silent spectator of discrimination happening in their own households. It is not uncommon to see women contributing significantly to the family – physically, financially, mentally – yet they are not appreciated or recognised.
For instance, I remember meeting a lady whose whole entire life was spent earning along with her husband for the household, but when some key investment related decisions needed to be taken, it was always the husband’s decision. Her voice was never heard. Or the typical scenario of every tenth household in our country where during a crisis situation, it will always be the woman earner of the family who will keep the much needed money on the table (probably stashed away in a rice barrel) and help bail out the family.
Yet – it would never go acknowledged.
Which makes me think, are women destined only for this? Earning a name as a silent partner while continuing with our daily chores of cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids and the elderly with total disregard of our own personal space, time and work?
As the responsibility of raising a family rests on women, many of them have proved stree shakti by stepping out of their comfort zones to meet new challenges. Examples of such shaktis are the women whom we see in our daily lives like the neighbourhood tailor aunty, my son’s music class teacher, ladies who have taken up catering to serve senior citizens, working in financial institutions, teachers, professionals, entrepreneurs and scores of others.
Aren’t they among the crores of women who are out there trying to balance between work and home?
I will also go a step further. Is it just enough to appreciate and applaud them? Don’t you think it is time the society, especially male members of the society acknowledge, appreciate and leave gender biases, help them deal with their chores and realise their full potential?
If gender biases are removed then think about the ever lasting impression it will have on future generations.
Krithika is a Bangalore based educationist with a penchant to reach out to the young and ignite their minds. A teacher by profession, a Mumbaikar at heart, an explorer of the world of cooking, she loves to travel. Her motto in life is to follow what one believes in and achieve it.
*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*