Sunday, 18 January 2015

Laundry - Whose Job is it?

This is a very interesting topic but I opinion is more neutral. 

I have seen my Grandma do the laundry .... hitting the cotton clothes on a large stone at the back of the house. Probably detergents were not so sophisticated then and brute force took the dirt out.

I have seen my Mother do the laundry .... using a detergent soap and a brush in the bathroom. The same job was completed quicker and less strenuous. 

As I was growing up, my father bought a semi-automatic washing machine for my mother. She was very happy the machine made her job much easier. My brother and I wanted to operate the new machine but we were strictly forbidden by my parents. They were scared we will spoil the machine.

Then I got married and my husband already had a fully automatic washing machine. I took my first lessons about operating the machine from him. Wow! this is easier than I ever imagined laundry could be. Drop the clothes, add detergent, turn it on and it turns itself off when it is done. Then we have the maid who takes care of drying the washed clothes and fold it. The machine was in a different floor and hence I had to climb a floor but that was good exercise to keep me fit. I banned my husband from operating the machine as I took ownership of the same.  

In my family, we never bothered about statistics. We, as a family have some needs and wants as well as some chores to be done and we need to do them for our own convenience. My husband goes out for a job six days a week to bring in the money we need to live on, pay the bills. I work at home caring for the family and the laundry. On Sundays we help each other and bond as a family. 

These are some of the telling household statistics that emerged in Ariel’s survey conducted by AC Nielsen.

I am very interested in statistics and I realized my family belongs to #6 (77% of Indian men depend on women for doing the laundry). But we consciously decided to keep it this way. 

As we chugged along, the children were growing up and once I fell sick. Doctors told me not to climb stairs for few months. I was speaking to my husband in the night and was discussing about shifting the washing machine to the Balcony or bathroom in the lower floor so that I can take care of laundry without climbing up. He told me we will discuss later as I needed to sleep. Next morning when I woke up, I could hear the machine running. I realized my husband has already taken care of the chore so that I don't have to climb up. This became the routine for the next 4 months till I was fit again.

No job is demeaning and so is laundry. It is perfectly alright for women (or for that matter men) to do laundry. As long as the family helps each other when required and women taking care of the family has reasonable access to the overall family income, household work (laundry inclusive) is just like work from home. 

Note: I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at in association with Ariel  

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