The objective of this study is to examine how the men are helping their wives in the day-to-day domestic activities. In this context an attempt is made to explain how far the men belonging to dual earning families are involved in domestic responsibilities.
India is a culturally and linguistically diverse country where people of many religions, castes, creeds and tribes live together. But, they share some common beliefs, values and norms that help them identify themselves as members of that society. Hofstede (2001) labelled India as a collectivist society where people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, interrelated groups, which continue to protect themselves throughout their lifetime. Collectivist values like interdependence; family integrity, security, obedience and traditional values are given importance by the people of collectivist culture.
Though India has undergone modernization and urbanization in recent times and both collectivist and individualistic values are found to co-exist in this culture, yet the society has remained mainly traditional including family life and role structure.
“With the number of working couples on the rise, automated home solutions have become the need of the hour. Since we live in a digital age, it is only natural that some solutions need to be available at the tip of our finger," says Emmanuel Cantragel., general manager of the French home product company Somfy Ltd.
The rise in the number of dual-earner couples in India may have led to an increase in the standard of living but it has also given rise to issues like how to balance home and work and how to devote enough time to children.
Couples are increasingly recognizing that any sort of balance can be achieved only if both partners chip in. For each couple, it's a matter of finding out what works best for them.
For most women, having a career means an opportunity to be self-reliant and help provide a more comfortable lifestyle for their family.
Changing Role of men in Family and Society:
The existence of different sex roles is an undisputed fact, the cause of their origin, however has been a highly controversial subject at least for a century. There is a wide spectrum of approaches to its explanation, reaching from biotic, anthropological, medical and psychological to economic explanations. And this is the reason why they are diverse, in part of highly controversial ideas also about the determinational complex, the relation between cause and effect and the interaction of the sex roles. It is also accepted that such a change of traditional sex roles are not a single act but a complicated longer term process.
The socio-cultural environment of Indian society has changed rapidly in the last five decades, especially in the quarter century after the attainment of India’s independence. Forces of modernisation continue to make a powerful impact and the society has to respond to the new needs and the urges of the people. Mahatma Gandhiji and many other leaders who combined in them the roles of social reformers and political leaders projected the vision of a new society, the humble and the oppressed were to get a new deal and the women were to secure a measure of emancipation in the society visualised by them.
The Indian constitution guarantees equal status and rights to both men and women. The woman today is no more the slave of her man. Today her role is not restricted only to household duties and rearing of children. The men are also playing an equal role with their wives. Traditionally a woman’s place was at home; a few decades ago her employment outside home was looked upon with disfavour. She was always seen as only a person for cooking, child bearing and rearing etc. But now the situation has changed as more and more women are employed and the role of husbands’ is changing.
Earlier men were very adamant about the fact that their wives should not work outside home on salary basis rather stay at home. Women were subjectively supposed to do house hold work and take care of children. Thus men have been very choosy in choosing their wives from time immemorial. Some men are also of the opinion that highly educated and working women do not make a good and homely wife. But as said before time is changing and some changes have started developing in the minds of men though not all, the present situation and the present condition have brought a turning point. Nowadays men are preferring women who are qualified as well as working and professionals. They prefer their wives should have many qualities and be capable to manage the family alone. This change of mind is occurred in man from one to two recent decades. Being a husband of a career woman, the men sometimes has to give preference to the family when some situation is unavoidble like, when a child is sick, or wife is not able to attend to the activities of home, and so on which the so called modern working husbands are fulfilling it up to some extent. The men are staying at home and helping in the daily chores of the family. The dominant role played by the men from the beginning is adopting a gradual change. Thus though the ideology of men as the superior and the sole provider of the family income are gradually changing. At the utmost, men are prepared to accept a woman as an equal, but still do not relish working under a woman.
Employment schedules are an important determinant of the amount of time available for household labour and so do men typically do less housework than women.
According to Dana Hinders, Harriet B. Presser in her article “Employment Schedules Among Dual-Earner Spouses and the Division of Household Labor by Gender” (1994) hypothesizes that the presence of husbands at home while the wives are employed increases the participation of husbands and decreases the participation of wives in household tasks.
Presser also believes that husbands who are at home while their wives are employed feel more of a psychological obligation to increase their participation in household tasks-especially during daytime hours, which are traditionally associated with both paid and unpaid work instead of leisure activities.
The study on the male participation in domestic responsibilities is a study related to the sharing of the domestic responsibilities by husbands of the dual earner families in Solapur city. The study was designed keeping in view the following objectives.
The geographical scope of the study was aimed at covering Solapur municipal Corporation Area because the study is mainly concerned with the dual earners, who are found in large number in the urban area. Solapur city is known as industrial city in Maharashtra which has attracted a large number of families in search of jobs. The city is a revenue divisional head quarters because of which a good number of government offices both state and central have been established. Solapur city is one of the important places of the district, and as mentioned already the city is a divisional head quarters, there are a number of government offices, semi-government offices, private organisations, educational institutes, etc. Comparing to the other places of the district Solapur city occupies highest number of literacy rate and a large number of working couples. So Solapur city (municipal corporation area) was covered for the research study.
The research aims to study the role of men in helping their wives in domestic chores and taking children’s responsibilities. For the study “Exploratory Research Design’ was adopted. For conducting this study various techniques and procedures were applied for the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data. The universe of the present study covers Solapur city within the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation Area.
The government organized sectors were covered for the present study. A total of 150 male workers from dual earning families with at least two school going children were selected for the study with the help of purposive sampling method and the data were collected with the help of the interview schedule prepared for the purpose of collecting the primary data. Observation and discussion methods were also used for the collection of the factual data.
The secondary data which consisted of various published and un-published materials in the form of books, reports, journals and periodicals, Research articles, encyclopedias related to the study were collected from various libraries and documentation centres and the web sites.
The scope of the research study was limited to the married male belonging to the dual earners family working in government organised sectors at Solapur city, numbering 150 respondents.
Findings of the study:
Demographic Profile of the Respondents
Age: 50 percent of the male respondents were in the age group of 30- 40 years which may be due to the marriage age in our Indian society is above 21 years for the males and therefore majority of the respondents having school going children were found in the age group of 30- 40 years.
Educational qualification: The educational level of the Solapur city people is good. Majority of the respondents (57 per cent) were graduates. A significant function of education is that it draws out the hidden qualities of the human beings and empowers men and women by infusing them with courage, self-confidence and a sense of independence.
Number of children: Majority of the respondents (59 per cent) had two children and a very small number had more than two children which may be due to the government norms of a small family.
The occupation of husbands in the dual earning couples fall in a wide category as shown in Table-1. Majority (66 percent) of the respondents were working in the clerical cadre, which includes junior clerk, senior clerks, typist, computer operator, etc. While 34 per cent are working in the teaching group like the school teachers and lecturers and other professions. The status of the family is determined by the occupation of the breadwinner and head of the family.
Type of family:
Considering the structure of the family it was found that majority (65 per cent) belonged to the nuclear family. This indicates that the new modern generations are opting for nuclear families than the extended families.
For the present study, to assess how men participated in the domestic chores only those variables that were considered relevant and important in the Indian context were included.
The role of husbands in the domestic day to day tasks were analysed and found that 41 per cent of the respondents were feeling inferior to help in the household tasks like when any of their friends, relatives, etc were present at their homes while 19 per cent did not feel inferior and 40 per cent were feeling inferior and did not help or share in the household tasks.
Table -2 Respondents share in domestic responsibilities
the house hold tasks such as washing, cleaning, cooking, etc. Regarding the income matters like keeping accounts and handling all the money matters 34 per cent of the respondents are handling it alone while 43 per cent are handling it together. The purchasing work was done by11 per cent of the total respondents but more than half of the respondents i.e. 70 per cent completed the purchasing work both by the husband and wife together.
Table -3 Respondents responsibilities in child bearing and rearing
It is found that among the children bearing and rearing responsibilities the first responsibility of taking overall care and responsibility of the children only 7 per cent respondents i.e. the males took care of the children.
For the decision making as to which schools the children should be sent, 35 per cent of the 150 respondents decided. A very small number of respondents, 3 per cent helped the children get ready to school while 5 per cent spent time with their children, 9 per cent took their children for an outing and 14 per cent helped their children in their studies. 11 per cent of the respondents met the school teachers and the last but not the least responsibility of staying at home when the child is ill, only 3 per cent of the respondents thought it as their responsibility to stay at home when the child is not feeling well.
The role of husbands in the domestic day to day tasks were analysed and found that 41 per cent of the respondents were feeling inferior to help in the household tasks only sometimes like when any of their friends, relatives etc were available they felt inferior to work. While 19 per cent did not feel inferior and 40 per cent were feeling inferior and did not help or share in the household tasks.
All the conclusions are based on the facts and findings and attitude of the respondents. It is concluded that individually the respondents (husbands) are not helping their wives in the domestic as well as children responsibilities. When it is considered regarding both the husband and wife it can be concluded that in majority of the responsibilities a considerable number of respondents helped their wives in the domestic and children responsibilities jointly. If this is the environment of the dual earners families, the effect of work-induced stress on family relationships may take a significant turn with the increasing number of career mothers. A shift in female involvement from home to work and no changes in male interests from work to home can provoke work-family conflicts. These conflicts result in higher health risks, unsatisfied marital relationship, less effective performance both at home and in the workplace and an overall dissatisfaction with the situations.
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10. Smart homes change way of life in urban India IANS | Apr 27, 2008, 06.07am IST. Google search.
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12. Dana Hinders, The Division of Household Labour Male Participation in Domestic Responsibilities, Yahoo! Contributor Network Nov 13, 2005.
Mrs. Indira .B. Choudhary
Asst. Prof., Department of Social Work, Walchand College of Arts & Science, Solapur.
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