Do you have the gift of time?
Always on the run.
That would be my tagline should I ever need one. Not because it’s something I like. Trust me. This is just how things are with me. In fact, with moms like me and with women in general.
Now, argue, as you might but the scale has been perpetually titled favourably towards men when it comes to not having to be on the run always. Home to work, work to home and sometimes to places in between; managing children, work and home at the same time, are not really things men have to juggle every single day. Okay, every single working day. Things are changing, you could say but at a snail’s pace. Not something to be particularly jolly about. If you are a woman then this is what broadly categorises your day, doesn’t it? Running from one task to the other till you close your eyes for the day.
One day last month I happened to stay back late at work not because I had work left but just to make up my average hours (a story for another day). With my parents in town, this was something I could think about for a change. They picked M from her daycare while I stayed back. While I was waiting for the clock to tick, I noticed the brightly lit badminton court at our office. Standing there watching a badminton game, I realised how socially conditioned we have become for a woman to have no time for anything at all after a certain point in her life. A game of badminton at 7 in the evening, hardly ever!
True to that there were hardly any women in the court. The few there were extremely young so no responsibilities in terms of cooking or kids. Men, however, were in huge numbers because married or not, they have no reason to rush from work, do they? In the midst of all the people in the court, I noticed a middle-aged man dressed in yellow tracks giving his all to badminton. And it’s great that he was doing that. We all need to be active, don’t we? But I found myself thinking about his wife. She would probably be the one worrying about the kids, the family’s dinner and their household chores even if she was working, even if she had cooks and maids at her disposal. Fair? I think not.
If you are a woman then this is what broadly categorises your day, doesn’t it? Running from one task to the other till you close your eyes for the day.
Now, you would perhaps say that maybe he was not married at all. Or, even better, if he was and if indeed his wife was taking care of everything then it must have been an arrangement they had agreed upon. So, who am I to judge? But that’s where you are wrong. Don’t you see that most of the married men there never once looked at their watches or were even the least bit concerned about what the time was? They could stay back and do whatever they had to do or wanted to do. Their existence isn’t timeboxed like it is for us women. And that’s what I have a problem with.
I have seen women, mother’s or wives, having working lunches to finish their work on time because they had homes and children to rush to. How many men have you seen do the same? So, yes, that man in the yellow tracks was representative of everything I hate about this society which makes women do so much thankless and unpaid work. He was representative of men who can dare to have a career and advance in it as well after becoming a parent while women always, always have to make some trade-offs. He reminded me that women still can’t have it all while he simply could as he moved around in that badminton court.
So, you see, how easy it is for men to have the gift of time. In fact, the moment their gender is decided they are given this gift. Yes, these days couples share their loads at home, the chores. But seriously, how many or how few are these couples? What about the vast majority who don’t even stop to think that this is a problem that needs to be addressed?
Women still can't have it all because we missed out on the gift of time. True? #FeministMondays Click To Tweet
I don’t know about you but I’m hell-bent on teaching my daughter that her time is as precious as that of the boys in her daycare. Yes, so that when and if she decides to settle down sometime in the future, she doesn’t choose someone like the man in the yellow tracks.
There, I said it.
Tell me, women, what are you doing to give greater value to your time and yourselves?
Men, tell me, do you realise what I’m talking about without going defensive?
Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.