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'A Legit Profession’: Even As SC Recognises Homemakers, Can We Go Beyond Tags?

Although there has been a shift in the use of terminology from "housewife" to "homemaker," is it enough?

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(This article has been authored by a member of The Quint. Our membership programme allows those who are not full-time journalists or our regular contributors to get published on The Quint under our exclusive 'Member's Opinion' section, along with many other benefits. Our membership is open and available to any reader of The Quint. Become a member today and send us your articles on membership@thequint.com.)

In the month of February, the Supreme Court declared its verdict stating that a homemaker's efforts and her contribution are priceless and nothing less than to those holding traditional office jobs. A select panel weighed on in that the value of a woman is difficult to be measured in 'financial terms'.

Moreover, SC has recently condemned the discriminatory practices that force women to leave their career goals, and high-paying jobs due to marriage or domestic responsibilities. SC has blatantly labelled such actions as "unconstitutional".

Dear SC, thank you for valuing a homemaker's profession – unseen and underestimated otherwise. But my humble query is: is this really a reason for celebration for the said target group? Isn't it a tad bit strange for us to have needed SC's stamp to acknowledge how important homemakers really are?

Can't we, as a society, recognise and honour the grand efforts they put and the supreme sacrifices they make to put a house in order and nurture families too? Will this judgment fix the blind spot of patriarchy? There is no clear answer.
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A Mother, a Wife, a Superhero but What About Respect?

The narrative around a housewife often boils down to as being 'unemployed' despite juggling household chores, finances, and familial needs deftly but without any formal acknowledgment or payment.

In a world where homemakers are often underappreciated due to their lack of income, it is crucial to shine a light on their indispensable contributions. Despite Indian cinema highlighting their struggles and societal sidelining, all that most homemakers receive is mere lip service instead of meaningful recognition.

This may have severe repercussions as some may feel underappreciated to the extent that they contemplate tragic outcomes like ending their lives

According to NCRB data from 2021 in India, out of 45,026 women who died by suicide – 23,178 were housewives. On average in 2021 alone, 63 housewives took their lives every day in India.

The devaluation of women is not limited to spouses but also extends to female acquaintances, relatives, and neighbors perpetuating misconceptions that homemakers solely depend on other's resources.
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Breaking Stereotypes: Prioritising Choice Over Compromise

Although there has been a shift in the use of terminology from "housewife" to "homemaker," it is worth questioning if their values can be assessed merely by these terms.

Will this verdict, howsoever crucial, impact their status in real life? The answers may not be straightforward but recognising and honouring homemakers appropriately is achievable.
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Breaking free of stereotypes surrounding homemakers requires educating the young early on to respect all forms of work regardless of traditional gender roles.

We must reshape narratives around homemakers while supporting them in prioritising mental health amid full-time responsibilities which often go unnoticed until it becomes worse.

Take out a full-time homemaker from her role and it could disrupt the functioning of an entire family, heck even the whole world. Hence, cultivating deep respect for the tireless work that they put in is imperative for us to progress as a society.

(This is an opinion article and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.) 

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