When it comes to housekeeping duties, the ‘homebodies’ of the country
When it came to housework in India, it was the ‘housewives’ that made the nation’s household work, says Arundhati Roy, author of The Homebodies of India: A History.
She is in New Delhi today to participate in the second edition of the ‘Housekeeping: A Global Survey’ in which the top 10 occupations in India will be analyzed and compared.
The book has been edited by former India editor Nanda Singh.
Among the tasks that the ‘Homebodies’, an informal association of women, were tasked with were cleaning and maintenance, housekeeping and laundry, cleaning and ironing, cooking, cooking utensils, and the like.
“We had to have a good sense of smell, we had to know how to make sure our food was not spoiled, we were told to make a good atmosphere and to be mindful of hygiene, and we had no choice but to clean the house,” said a retired housekeeper, a housewife from the Kolkata district of India, to The Hindu.
These housekeepers, who work in many different households, are considered the guardians of the household.
One woman said, “If I get sick, I must be prepared for a few days to go to the hospital.
If I get tired, I have to go home.”
Arundhana Roy, founder of the homebodies, talks about housework, cleaning, and ironning in India.
There are over 2.3 billion people living in India and in the country, women account for less than 15 per cent of the population.
Many women, who are mostly housewives, are also considered the housekeepers.
But in some of the largest cities, like Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad, women do most of the housework.
According to data from the census, the share of women in these cities is between 12 per cent and 22 per cent.
And yet, the data reveals that the percentage of women housekeepers has gone up from 25 per cent in 2011 to 43 per cent today.
In Mumbai, for instance, women earn only Rs 10 per day and are often the only housekeepers who are paid at all.
Even though women earn less than their male counterparts, they are still the primary housekeepers in these parts of India.
And the gender gap is getting worse, said a senior official in the city.
Women have been making up over half the housekeeping jobs in India but are barely compensated for their work.
Rajan Singh, the Chief Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, has said that women make up over 10 per cent or more of the work force in India today.
“But women earn a lot less than men do,” he said.
However, women still earn more than men in India’s major cities, according to a 2013 report by the National Institute of Demography.
An official from the Centre for Research on Women in India told The Hindu that a woman’s pay is dependent on the job.
“A woman needs to earn between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 per month in order to survive in a low-wage job,” he explained.
It is estimated that a mother is now earning Rs 12,000 to Rs 14,000 annually.
This salary is almost equal to the income of a full-time worker in the same sector.
With the current wage gap, the women in India have been forced to leave their jobs to look for a better-paying job.
While some women may be employed as housekeepers or house cleaners, it is more common for women to be the primary cleaners.
Experts say that this practice is changing as women start to work in industries where they can earn more money.
A major factor behind this shift in gender ratio is the increasing number of women studying engineering and computer science, said an official in India who asked not to be named.
As women are more educated, more of them are opting to work as house cleaners and housekeepers as well, said Dr. Kavita Krishnan, Director of the Centre on Gender in the Public Sector.
They are finding it easier to negotiate the wage with the employer.
After getting a degree in computer science or engineering, the woman who has a bachelor’s degree will not be able to find a similar job as her male colleagues.
What is the future of women working in India?
In a report released last year by the Institute for Social Economics and Management at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, women were less than half of the workforce in various fields like manufacturing, agriculture, banking, real estate, and social assistance.
India is the third largest economy in the world with a GDP of about $6 trillion.
Despite this, the percentage representation of women is just 1 per cent among India’s population.
And that is a drop in the ocean of India