India is stepping closer to modernisation, but still the patriarchal mind set prevails in the country. In the Indian family set up, it is mostly a woman who sacrifices her career to cater to household needs of her family. A lot of families still prefer the woman to be the homemaker, while the man is given full opportunity to focus on his career.
Is Marriage a Setback for a Woman to Touch New Heights even after Marriage?
Yes, it is true to a certain extent. But it also has two sides of the same coin. Even today, in India, there are many families who prefer a housewife rather than a working woman. This is seen mainly in arranged marriages, where most parents and even the groom express their desire to have a non-working girl for marriage, who would stay at home, take care of the house, and raise the kids. This is true for all kinds of career, be it in sports or private or corporate or government services.
Some Common Reasons
- Many still feel that a woman is the sole person who can take care of the household and make her family stay healthy.
- There are many others who feel that if both the husband and the wife go out for work, it means that there is less focus on the family’s emotional needs, as well as household and health, which is not good for the upbringing of children.
- They don’t hesitate to accept a well-qualified girl for marriage who is willing to sacrifice her career after marriage.
Limitations Faced in Career by Working Women
Though many families have realised the importance for the woman to work, there are many limitations that a woman faces while balancing her family life and career. For instance:
- It is always seen that when the boy and the girl are from different places, it is the girl who has to leave her existing career and settle down with the guy in his location. She needs to start all over again to get a new job and establish herself in the new job in a different location. Here, the main reason given is that the girl always earns lesser than the boy and usually her job is not at the same level as that of the boy. So her career is much easier to disturb. But what about the cases when the girl is in a better position? Will the boy get ready to relocate? That’s a million dollar question.
- It is also seen that most married women give up their jobs or take a break when they have kids so that they could give ample time for raising the kids. Yes, that is equally important. But at what cost? At the cost of the career of the woman. When the kids grow up, they might look for a job later. But that position, that aura never comes back and she has to start all over again. Some never get back.
- Yes, there are maternity leaves available and a woman joins back her job after few months. But, then she always remains with the guilt in her mind that her baby is without her. Also, during her absence, somebody else might have taken her position.
- There are many professional working women who feel that it is necessary for them to give up their work, at least temporarily, so that they could raise their child properly. Some by force, some willingly, have given up their career to live up to the expectations of a woman’s role in the Indian family.
- In a normal middle class family, the working woman comes back and has to do all her regular tasks. She also cannot afford to come home late like her husband as she has to cook, look after her children and in-laws and so on. A man can get home late but not the woman.
- Also, while climbing up the corporate ladder, a married woman is always considered as a weaker sex (though it is not always true) in many organisations.
Sports as a Career for Married Women
Recently, Preeja Sreedharan, one of the country’s finest female athletes, has announced her retirement from Athletics. Leaving behind an amazing sporting career of almost 20 years, she said that she wants to take a break from sports to spend more time with her family members. She also said that India is the only country where a woman has to stop her sporting career on account of marriage. The women’s sports scenario in India is not a very bright one, considering the fact that we have very few prominent women personalities in the sports arena. Some of them are P. T. Usha (athletics), Preeja Sreedharan (athletics), Kunjarani Devi (weightlifting), Diana Edulji (cricket), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Koneru Hampi (chess), Sania Mirza (tennis), Karnam Malleswari (weightlifting), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Mary Kom (boxing) etc. who have won many accolades for the country. Some of them are still at the brim of their career, winning the hearts of the people of the country with their medals and awards. But some of them have given up their career to be with their family like as Preeja Sreedharan, some remained unmarried, some chose jobs other than sports such as P.T. Usha (who is a railway employee now). One eminent sports personality who has fought against all odds to continue her sports career, even after marriage and becoming a mother is Mary Kom. Yes, there are exceptions too.
Thankfully, the trend is changing today as we can see that in the cities and in the newer generations, women are well-educated compared to what they were few decades back and they are beginning to take up more work. Middle class families are preferring both husbands and wives to work due to the increased expenses of raising a family. Women are working due to improved access to employment opportunities, education and financial pressures. And, also, there are lots of men who consider their wives as equals, and are not threatened by their better salary package. So all is not lost.