The Women and Child Development Ministry is preparing a draft Bill that would entitle housewives a monthly income from their husbands. The Bill is likely to be presented before Parliament within six months.
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said the proposal was aimed at empowering women.
The above proposed bill could be overlooked as something that would empower women as it is mooted by the WCD ministry. The bill proposes that the salary should be paid by HUSBAND. This reinforces the patriarchal notion that House Chore is women’s forte and HUSBAND as ‘Head of Family’ are the OWNERS of Wife, and wives are their slaves / domestic workers. It demeans women’s self respect and submits itself to the Feudalist-Patriarchal definition of Role for Women. Proposal to Honor it by means of salary from Husband is to be opposed from the following points of view:
1. We come to understand that the salary for the household chores be paid by the husbands. Even Government of Goa has proposed a bill a few month back which says that the domestic labor of the home-maker be compensated by the Government of GOA.
[The scheme in GOA, likely to be rolled out by July, proposes to give Rs 1,000 per month to all homemakers with annual household income of below Rs 3 lakh, benefiting some 1.25 lakh families. “Homemakers are finding it difficult to manage households in these times of inflation. This is meant to empower them,” says an official of the women and child development ministry.
Interestingly, the move for a housewives union is not a new concept as such. Countries like Ukraine and Venezuela all have housewives taking matters into their own hands and forming a union. In fact, in Ukraine the men folk can also join the union provided that they managed their own households.]
3. The system of women receiving salary from her husband within his earning would only convert the relationship into Owner-worker hierarchy rather than doing anything good for women.
4. With India’s mean National income around 4,500 a month, it doesn’t seem economically empowering both Men and Women, rather it would lead to frictions within the family.
5. It seeks to glorify Women’s domestic Labor in stereotyped manner. It would influence the Husband to force women into domestic work forever, suppressing from her rights to choose to work outside her home. She will not be able fight for the ‘mutual sharing of domestic work’ with her Husband who would react saying that domestic labor will be honored by ‘his salary’.
6. It is said that most Men drink and do not give their salaries at Home. A sizeable section of women also think and experience that. To address this concern we may demand for the right of the wives (not just house wives) to lodge a request to the concerned authorities for debiting the Husband’s salary entirely into Wive’s account.
7. We also should demand the Government to take due responsibility and ensure the economical safety of the families of the victims of the ‘alchoholism’.
8. It is being debated that it would be a saving for the family. Again with salary as low as Rs.100 a day and while the poorer class is already struggling to live their lives, how will the husband be able to honor this commitment.
9. We may well observe that among poorer section, women do work outside the home apart from the domestic labor forcing them to engage in dual labor. The Government and the Patriarchal society has never thought of solutions to liberate Women from this ‘dual labor’ by equally honoring Women’s right to be earn.
9. Working outside home helps Women to an extent from being dependent on men, and this proposal may create an adverse effect among the minds of few women convincing them to be home bound demanding salary from Husband. This would again add to the burden to such Men and the Family relationship would turn out to be a chaos.
10. The Social definition of role of Women has to greater extent convinced Women to be housewives. Child bearing, rearing and Family up-liftment has always been considered to be women’s role. The proposal of honoring ‘house wives’ with salary does not seek to re-define gender roles. It cannot be considered as empowerment of Women, rather it is degradation of Women.
Appeal to the ministry of Women and Child Development
1. Government should not wash away its hands from its responsibility. It should ensure Employment for Women which would liberate women from dependency, rather making her slave again.
2. To liberate women from the clutches of House chore work, dual labor and Child rearing Government should open up communal centers, common kitchen, common Laundry for domestic work and open day care centers. This would help Women to work outside her house and empower her to be self reliant.
3. If a women chooses to be home bound, the monthly allowance should be paid by Government and not by Husband. Government may fix up an annual income scale to ensure that it is a scheme for the working class.
4. Government should take action to pass on the 33% reservation bill for Women rather than shedding crocodile tears in the name of Women Emancipation.
5. Government should ensure equal pay for both the sexes.
6. Government should ensure the implementation of minimum wages act across all sectors.
M.A.S.E.S hereby does not support this reactionary proposal which falsely glorifies Feudalist-Patriarchal definition of Women and which is not aimed at liberating women from dependency and dual labor.