• Clodagh Meaney

#ChoresHaveNoGender: Women in India petition Prime Minister to ask men to help with household chores

"Tell Indian men to do an equal share of household chores."

Women in India have begun petitioning their Prime Minister to tell the men of the country to do an equal share of the household chores.

Subarna Ghosh from Mumbai began the petition as she is exhausted by the 'double burden' of working a paid job during the day as well as maintaining the home by cooking, cleaning and minding her two children.

"I feel exhausted bearing this unfair share of the workload," she said.

"The fatigue from being overworked is palpable amongst women in most Indian homes."

"Being homebound has defined this lockdown for most of us who have a home. And the effort required to keep our homes functional and families cared for has never been more evident," she explained.

Subarna, who runs a charity which advocates for on reproductive justice, highlighted how COVID-19 became a multi-dimensional crisis for women in India as they begin to confront the long-standing issue of unpaid labour shouldered by women in the home.

"Unequal distribution of unpaid household work has rendered the harshest blow to women across India during this lockdown," she said.

"Yet, women’s care work continues to be invisible and no one wants to address this gross imbalance."

The 70,000 signature strong petition calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address men in his next speech by asking them to do their equal share of care work within the home.

"If Mr Modi can inspire us to light lamps and clap in solidarity, he can inspire us to correct an unfair norm that discriminates against women in every home," she said.

"The need to recognise and redistribute unpaid household work equally amongst men and women is not new."

According to a 2018 report by International Labour Organisation, women in urban India spent five hours and 20 minutes per day on unpaid care work, with men only spending 29 minutes.

In villages, the statistics are four hours 45 minutes for women, and 32 minutes for men.

In Ireland, there is also a significant gender imbalance when it comes to unpaid care duties.

A 2019 report by Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute found that women spend more than double the amount of time as men on housework.

Women spend an average of 19.7 hours per week, with men spending an average of 9.2 hours per week.

The report also found that 45 percent of women and 29 percent of men provide care for others on a daily basis. 

© 2020 by EMPWR

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