As Women Face The Double Burden Of Working From Home And At Home, Corporates Try To Sensitize Men To Contribute More At Home
Before we spit balled into the year 2020, my mother was a successful caterer, my father, a businessman and I a full-time working writer. We had house help, defined career paths and a harmony is everyday life. Of course that was up until we were forced into a nationwide lockdown to tackle the pandemic that threatened to take away everything we considered regular. Crashing through our definition of ‘normal’ and redefining gender roles that we had taken years to dismantle, this pandemic has dragged us back by nearly a decade. Misogyny was back in action and the women of the house once again saw themselves burdened with the onus of running a household and their business, while the men simply enjoyed the luxury of working from home and not at home.
As women burn themselves out at both ends, handling the kitchen, the children and their work if they’re employed, majority of the men have been taking advantage of this dynamic to contribute miserly and get off from doing any hard labor. The brunt of which, as many reports from corporates reveal, is being faced by women as it could lead to a potential setback for females aspiring to leadership roles.
And realizing the kind of effect it could have in shaping the future of women aspiring to take on greater roles, many companies have decided to sensitize their male employees towards the gravity of the situation. Taking active role in working towards correcting the gender roles that have come with coronavirus, corporates are trying to make sure that there is no spill over of work into women’s personal space anymore.
Covid-19 is not the great gender equaliser we thought it was, even with more men working from home women continue to bare the brunt of household labour. #SriLanka #COVID19 #genderequity https://t.co/HS7tpmTvrd
— Rehana Thowfeek (@RehanaThowfeek) October 7, 2020
Also Read : #Voices: Study Says Women Who Work From Home Suffer From ‘Double Burden Syndrome’ Where Deadlines And Domestic Duties Are Both Their Responsibility
Nestle India managing director Suresh Narayanan commented on the topic and said, “We have been accommodating for women managers needing ‘time out’ or ‘sabbaticals’ to deal with family circumstances and efforts are constantly made to keep in touch with the most vulnerable colleagues who might be facing family pressures, depressive circumstances or other situations of discomfort.”
Where as a report from the corporate giant McKinsey revealed, “The share of women in unpaid-care work has a high and negative correlation with female labour-force participation rates and a moderately negative correlation with women’s chances of … assuming leadership positions with many men now handling more household work than before. However, they are still a small proportion of men who do that. Unlike earlier assumptions that some women team members would benefit from the added flexibility offered by WFH without long commutes, a few months down the line, things have played out quite differently. Women handle the vast majority of unpaid work in the home (chores, childcare, home-schooling, elder care, etc)”. And it was true, no doubt.
Women around the U.S. are burnt out. Not only facing pressure at home with virtual school. At work, there's actually MORE pressure to do well. Twice as many mothers said they’re afraid they’ll be penalized at work for having childcare issues at home 1/5https://t.co/KajJy1Kevh
— Emily Peck (@EmilyRPeck) October 7, 2020
— Suzi Ring (@journosooz) September 30, 2020
Women aren’t just bogged down with the daily targets and deliverables at work, but are also responsible for keeping a family fed, a house functional and day to day operations – seamless. The pressure is seeping into the personal lives as well, and the fact that companies are trying to identify it and also educate the men for taking an active role at household responsibilities was long due.
Manisha Girotra, the chief executive at Moelis India is of the view that, ‘What a woman needs to do is earmark a specific work area in the house and explain to others in the house that I work these hours, my career is important and that my workplace has now shifted to home so all others in the house have to be supportive’.
And now that even the companies are lending a ear to the double whammy that women are being faced with, it is only fair for the men to own up to their share of the responsibilities and lend a helping hand.