In the context of the stereotyped notion of the Indian society about homemakers, four Bengali women from my surroundings shared their belief about the significance of their role and insisted others to look at the position from a constructive perspective.
In India 79.2% (Time Use Survey 2019) urban women are homemakers (involved in the unpaid domestic service for household)– who are considered as the pillars of the Indian families, often struggle to get deserving admiration from the society and remain just as a support system losing their very own existence or identity. The perception of the society that doing housework only contributes nothing in the family income ultimately denies existence or individual identity of the Homemakers. Whereas An Oxfam International report of 2019 stated that in India, the unpaid work done by women looking after their homes and children is worth 3.1% of the country’s GDP. Women spend 312 minutes per day in urban areas and 291 minutes per day in rural areas on such unpaid care work.
In this background, I approached four women from my family, asked them to share their thoughts and belief about this notion of society, what really motivates or inspires them to do this voluntary work without any break or leave. During this course of conversation through doing their day-to-day activity and also through sharing their hobbies and interest, these women reciprocated to my queries which is certainly guiding us to see this role in a different light - appreciative and compelling.
After recent demise of my mother-in-law (a teacher by profession), while recalling her memories, I called back her great respect for women who only work at home. She owed her sister, a homemaker, for raising her son. Her sense of great respect and sincerity for homemakers urged me to think about this story. I hope this story will help us to break this stereotype notion about homemakers in today’s society, give us a fresh perspective to look at these women and expectantly preserve their individual existence in every caste, race or community.
Sutapa is a self-taught storytelling photographer from Kolkata, India. She believes photography is a strong medium that can shape up the thoughts, opinions and ideas of a society maintaining the ethical value, as maintained in every work culture. She works on social stories focusing identity, injustice, conflict. Her work is deeply personal and collaborative in nature. She was an Angkor Workshop participant 2019.