A note to the girls, a young girl, a brave girl of twenty first century, whose mothers are working: and in triple shift

ANJ ANA
Posted September 15, 2019 from Nepal

In the developing country like mine, due to the educational revolution, girls/women’s access to the education has resulted women’s participation in income generation activities and in employment. Women start to work outside but still the norms of her household responsibilities remains same. All the household chores: cooking, cleaning and caring portfolio, is considered as women’s primary work. There is no choice and somehow mandatory to complete her own “designated work” and then only allowed to work outside.  Since the household work is designated work for women, it’s a matter of shame to her if any of the male members does the household work. It has been affecting women to face the double burden to manage both of her personal and professional work together and to consider all the socio economic factors to balance all of them at the same time. The norm is so much deep rooted in society that even if a man/boy wants to share the household responsibilities, it is not welcomed and considered well in the families. The pressure of society is so high that women directly cannot share/transfer her household work to men and boys. 

 

I still recall my childhood: I was assigned to some of the small household helps to my mother before and after my school. Whereas my own and cousin brothers were never asked to finish any single of the households. Even if they wanted to help me to complete my work (so that I can play with them), my grandmother had a great concern on this. In her views, boys will be the bread-earner for the family and girls are the caretaker of household, so I should be practicing all those chores from young age. But my father never discriminated me in education nor in any of the opportunities. I was admitted in a good school like my brothers, however as a girl I had a separate certain rules and responsibilities that needs to be fulfilled besides my school. 

 

One another memory I recall a most: after one of my Annual Parents’ Day at my school, I  got a feedback from my grandmother that I should not be dancing with a boy in the stage as it was considered as “a shame”, whereas my cousin brother was highly appreciated to dance with a girl in the same programme, same dance, and he was a talk of the town for a month. This made me sad and internally probed the question why: why I was dealt differently, why was being a girl a big obligation, which continued for a long time. 

After my marriage, I often consoled myself that I was getting the life of my dream with freedom to work- that I was a privileged one. I was told that I had to choose between a life with full luxury but limited to the boundary of four walls or to choose an independent working life with lots of struggle. I choose the second, thinking that I would be able improve the family life with my earnings. But my decision became costly to me but without any recognition of contribution; I solely had to go through lots of hardship balancing personal and professional life together. At that young age, I never realized that, life with independency can have luxury, comfort, and better understandings amongst. I never thought at that time, why man cannot shoulder households’ chores when a woman can equally shoulder her man as an economic actor; why only women supposed to have the burden of both personal and professional life all the time.  Similar to this, a girl is always asked to choose whether she needs education, or the property. Generally girl/woman prefers education, thinking that she will easily earn money if she is given good education. But why she doesn’t have both of them for her economic security like boy. Why the girls are asked for options all the time, yes, we need of education and property both like boys and wanted to be privileged and secured as boys/men.

The size of my queries growing bigger, once I asked to my aunt that why men are privileged to do anything, they want with no regrets whereas women are doing so many responsibilities and sacrifices and even they are not being heard and acknowledged properly. Why women are expected to feel, think, understand and behave as per the need of family and society without a single question and any instruction from anyone. My aunt’s answer made me speechless and again the bunch of my queries deep inside got more strengthened, yet made me more confused. She told me that we, women are naturally gifted and have beautiful heart and full of patience, we see two (father’s and husband’s) houses, two household dealings and lots of experiences during the living so all those experience made our perspective broader in comparison to men’s. It’s the only ability and sixth sense of women that understands unheard, untold and unseen things. Thus, we women have to deal with this with our sense, knowledge and wisdom. It’s the women’s duty to understand the situations and fill the gaps and balance things in family and social life. Perhaps, the deep rooted this aspect is the third shift of the women’s work i.e. socio-emotional work. The queries within me continued a lot and I had gone through a big battle within myself to conclude my queries and confusions. It took lots of effort and self-initiatives (as mentioned in above paras), to get washed my brain with all those patriarchal norms and to change it even in my individual perspectives to all family and society.  I am clear that No……. all the accountabilities, responsibilities and tireless efforts are not only an individual women’s cup of tea. It’s not necessary to understand, what was not told, it is not necessary to feel what was not said and it’s not completely necessary to read the mind of people and act what they wanted to.

After paying off huge cost for being an independent working mother, now on the occasion on Day of the GIRL, I urge you all young girls to live your life with equality and urge you not to pay any additional cost for your liberty, choice, empowerment and independent. Every girl needs to learn right from her childhood that kitchen is not their own periphery, laundry is not their sole responsibility or household chore and taking care of family is not only their individual responsibility. This is the life skills that is need for everyone both of the boy and girl and everyone should learn for themselves. If the accountability and role is changed as an economic actor, the work and responsibilities have to be shared accordingly. 

I often feel happy to hear and honored as ‘’The Man of the house’’ by my daughter and I am a super woman in her image, but I do not wish my daughter or any of the girl go through a triple shift to be a ‘’Hero in life’’.  Every girl or women needs eight hour of work, eight hours of rest and eight hours of entertainment in her life. She is equally eligible and deserves all of the required quality life as of any boy or man. It’s their own dignity and respect they deserve in their life.    

This story was submitted in response to GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.

Comments 28

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Lisbeth
Sep 15
Sep 15

Please I hope you are doing well?
Thanks for sharing your story with us here.
I hope you have a great day.
Regards

ANJ ANA
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Lisbeth,
Thank you for the nice comment.
Wish you too have a nice day
warm regards,
anjana

Hannah B
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Anjana,
Thank you for sharing your story!
I love how to started with sharing both the sorrows and the joys of being a working mother. It sounds like your daughter has a beautiful example of a strong and determined woman in you, and she is very fortunate for that!
I hope you will keep writing and sharing on World Pulse.
Kind regards,
Hannah

ANJ ANA
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Hannah,
I feel so good that you love the starting, which I was bit confused if people will like or not. I felt like people will be losing the interest at first or second para and will not continue till the end. but thank you for your comments and a nice word for my daughter.
love and regards,
anjana

Anita Shrestha
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Anjana Jee
It is great to see your story in this world pulse. Really, you are doing great work at home, society and office . Therefore, you are role model for all of us. I believe that your daughter will also demonstrate as like you. Keep it continue........................

ANJ ANA
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Anita jee,
Thank you so much for your sweet words. This is all the reflection of sisters and people nearby me (you all). I highly value your encouragements.
Love and regards,
Anjana

Jill Langhus
Sep 16
Sep 16

Hello Dear Anjana,

Thanks for sharing your beautifully written, and well thought out story. I do hope this double standard is shifted soon, not only in your country, but everywhere. As you said, women deserve better, and I totally, 100% agree, the work and responsibilities should be shared. To me, there is no equality without it. You are very brave to not only embody this principles, but also to speak up about them. I'm glad to hear that your daughter thinks you are super woman... you most definitely are. She will be strong, resourceful and outspoken, undoubtedly, just like her super mom!

XX

ANJ ANA
Sep 16
Sep 16

Dear Jill,
Thank you so much for all your nice comments for me and my daughter, feeling more encouraged and also thank you for your solidary for wishing the shift of works for equality. Let's continue our work/ initiation from our individual level for equality.
love and regards,
anjana

Jill Langhus
Sep 18
Sep 18

Hello Dear:-)

You're very welcome!

Sounds good to me:-)

XX

ANJ ANA
Sep 19
Sep 19

:) Thank you, dear Jill. Have a nice weekend.
xoxo

Jill Langhus
Sep 20
Sep 20

You're welcome, dear.

You, too!!

Nabila Abbas
Sep 18
Sep 18

wow...i'm so impressed with the lyrical content you wrote from both sides; first as a mother second to see your daughter inside of you :) You're such an inspiring and cooperative mother. I loved this colorful piece :) Thanks for sharing :)

ANJ ANA
Sep 18
Sep 18

Dear Nabila,
Thank you so much for your encouragement and so happy that you like it.
By the way, the second para is about my daughter currently ( she is 17 now) and how she turned/learned from her own experiences.
regarding the colors, I made it intentionally because I was feeling like, until the second para with repetitive lines i.e one of the painful...../ one of the happiest.......... for so many times, readers may lose the interest, so I made it colorful and in the picture. anyways, I am so happy that you liked it.
love and regards, anjana

Evelyn Chioma Joseph

I really appreciate your beautifully written stories on gender roles.
Thanks and keep changing norms that long kept women and girls in a corner.

ANJ ANA
Sep 18
Sep 18

Dear Evelyn,
Thank you for your nice comments.
best regards, anjana

Urmila Chanam
Sep 19
Sep 19

Dear Anjana,
I am proud of your courage and positive attitude and you are on the right path. We may not be able to undo what has been the social norm for generations overnight, but the way we live is an example and sets the ball rolling for our children to emote. Remember more people are watching us( how we live and our beliefs) than we know.
Love and prayers,
Urmila Chanam,
India

ANJ ANA
Sep 19
Sep 19

Dear Urmila,
Thank you for the lovely note. sure, we can set an example with our own initiatives. Let's practice what we preach.
love and regards,
anjana

Hello, dear Anjana,

I'm so proud of you for writing this piece. :) You are the woman of the house because you do not settle on the answers provided to you. Instead, you think deeply and decide wisely. I love how you write this well with an advice to the girls out there. :)

Thank you for sharing this and for inspiring us! Hugs!

ANJ ANA
Sep 19
Sep 19

Dear Karen,
Thank you so much for all your lovely notes on encouragements to me.
best regards,
Anjana

My pleasure, dear Anjana. Please continue writing. :)

ANJ ANA
Sep 19
Sep 19

Sure, it's an opportunity to comfort ourselves too through sharing and caring for each other.
xoxo, av

I agree. :)

Looking forward to reading more from you!

ANJ ANA
Sep 24
Sep 24

sure my dear, i will try to write at least one in a quarter.

Wonderful! :)

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 20
Sep 20

Dear Anjana,
Your story really paints the picture so well "it’s a matter of shame to her if any of the male members does the household work". This is a myth that we have been working to change for a long time, a newer battle in some areas than others, but able to be changed by women like you who bring the question forward, boldly and so clearly. It takes women like you who repeatedly question why women should carry so much heavier a burden in the real work that needs to be done, not only to get income, but also the heavy tasks that go with living: food, cleaning, child care. In the 1950's my mother insisted that my 5 brothers share the housework. Neighbours did not demand the same of their sons, but she created change, as you are by questioning the accepted norms. Your aunt's message was beautiful and I agree that we have special powers and abilities as women. All the more reason that men share the work more fairly so that we have time to shine with our perspectives, creating a fair and just world.

ANJ ANA
Sep 22
Sep 22

Dear Tam,
Thank you so much for your encouragement as usual. From the very first post, I am getting value for being myself/for my faith, It has not only lifted my spirit but also boosted my confidence, encourage to write more, and made me affirmed that I am on the right path. So I am really grateful for you being always there.
Good to know your mother has practiced for equality in 1950 and in there are also lots of effort/battle since long, but feeling bad that still, we are struggling for it in some part of the globe. I know it takes time to transform and change the mindset, so let's work until we succeed.
Love and regards,
anjana

priti.shrestha
Sep 28
Sep 28

This read gave me such a relief .... I am also somehow tired stretching myself to prove I can manage work, a toddler and two sides of family dynamics. I have had enough of guilt of not being able to fulfill what is considered women's role in the household. Not anymore! sending love!

ANJ ANA
Sep 28
Sep 28

Oh, my dear Priti ji,
I am very happy to see you here. Welcome to the WP family and also happy that the piece gave you little comfort, yes we have to listen to our heart, If we individual are strong, we can help each other (sisters).
I look forward to read your story and motivations too.
Love and hugs,
anjana