Corona has in a short span managed to touch every life, adversely affected every industry, and if one takes a deeper look inside a household or any industry/ office a sort of disturbing revelation confronts; the virus appears to have adversely affected the lives of women specially those having professional careers more than their male counterparts.
Life in lockdown….
Work from Home. The lockdown ushered in the work from home culture and even the schools/ colleges shifted the teaching learning process to the online platforms. While the menfolk generally converted one of the rooms at home into the office to facilitate disturbance free work environment the womenfolk because of the nature of the added responsibility of home management had to generally make do with the space in bedroom or the dining room from where they could manage the kitchen and keep a watchful eye on the kids and the elders in the home.
Increase in Workload. While some men did lend a helping hand but still the major responsibility of home management due to our societal norms’ rests with the ladies. The non-availability of paid help and the kids staying home 24 X 7 further accentuated the problem. Most working women have to work overtime or late nights to keep the home clean and meet the dinner and office deadlines.
The responsibility of ensuring that the kids attended and understood the lessons being imparted through online classes also rests with the mothers in most homes. Juggling time between own office time and the online classes of kids is not easy by any means.
Managing the kitchen during lockdowns specially the first three months must have been really a difficult task. With all restaurants close, the home delivery chain coming to a grinding halt and limited availability of raw material, it certainly must not have been a easy task for any home maker to keep innovating in the kitchen and meet the aspirations of the kids as also of the elders.
The Stress factor. The added work load at home and the pressures of meeting the office and the school deadlines with negligible or no breaks or source of entertainment (Even the TV channels were just dishing out the depressing Corona News 24 X 7) would certainly add to the stress in the life of any normal human and when it is for months it has chances of leading to an abnormal reaction at times. Studies have revealed that the increase in stress level of women was much higher as compared to men during this pandemic time. Salutations to the ladies who have managed the stressful conditions well and retained sanity and calmness.
Job loss. Many working women have resigned from jobs due to increase workload at home as the support system which helped them juggle between the home and office responsibility, like paid help, availability of creches, day care centres, facility of home delivery of food has suddenly gone missing. The situations for single mothers will certainly be graver as they have no option but to take care of the kids, home and at the same time earn enough money to make keep the life going comfortably. Another disturbing news has been that more women have lost jobs, both in organised and unorganised sectors all over the world during the lockdown. If this is true, then this will further add fuel to the gender bias at workplace debate. Employment should be a matter of competence and not of gender.
The lockdown protocols are being progressively relaxed and paid domestic helps are back however the virus is not going to leave the world in a hurry the schools are likely to remain closed for this year and industries likely to take time to come back to normal hence the workload and responsibility being shouldered women is not going to reduce in near future. Men and the other family members must step forward to share the responsibility and give the homemakers the much-required break.