Halo of Working Women

Women who have salaried jobs are not only financially independent but participate more productively in making family decisions and decisions about the future and wellbeing of their children. Syed Asma reports.

It was early morning, Sakeena is eagerly waiting in her lawn for the newspaper. She is biting her nails and staring at the green grass, looking tense. A bicycle bell from outside came as a relief. She rushed to the gate and collected the newspaper. Flipping its pages in haste, she stopped at one, a frown on her face was followed by a smile. A smile of contentment! Her name was in the selection list, she has got a job. Feeling all the happiness in the world, she said, “Now I am independent. I will no more have to ask for money from papa”.

Sakeena is now married and it all was arranged shortly after she got a job. Having a good salaried job getting a better match for a girl in Kashmir.
“Earning gives a feeling of independence, a sense of my worth. If I have spend money on my studies why can’t I earn it back,” says Aasiya. She has recently completed her MBA and is working in a bank.

Shaila, an engineer by profession feels that her salary has given her enough freedom to make her own and her children’s decisions. She says her husband hardly interferes in her decisions. “I myself decided the school my children are going to attend. I even took the decision of admitting them in a preparatory school when other members in the family were against it,” says Shaila.

“It only became possible when I was financially independent, otherwise I had to wait for my husband and rest of the family’s approval.”

Seeing the independence and the status of working women in the families, many homemakers have changed their decision and are looking for salaried jobs. Amber, a homemaker for the last four years has a Masters degree in English literature and is presently pursuing B ed in the hope of finding a job.

Recently in her brother’s marriage she could not get a gift of her choice for her brother. She feels she had to compromise because she was wholly dependent on her husband. “What I wanted to buy was costlier than what he (her husband) purchased. If I had my own money, I would have not needed his assistance,” says Amber.

“I had decided not to work after marriage but as my sister-in-law was going to office every day and making her own living I felt a bit inferior to her and decided to look for a job,” says Nadia.

She felt her sister-in-law has authority and she is confident in taking family decisions because she has her own money to implement those decisions which. She is presently working as a Rehber-i-Taleem in a community school.

Nadia’s husband sees it as a positive change. He says after she started attending her job, her behavior has changed. She feels more confident in putting her view across and takes active part in making decisions for her children. Besides, she is now sharing some financial responsibility, especially about her children.

Zareena, a lawyer by profession was married for last twelve years and later parted ways from her husband. She says if she was not a working women she would have to beg to feed her children. “No doubt it is still hard but I manage one way or the other.”

Monthly income in women’s life plays a positive role but many feel that it has disturbed the relationship of couples as well. Haleema, an elderly woman who has been a homemaker all her life says, “In our time, husbands knew that their wives were financially and emotionally dependent on them, so they accordingly cared for us. But now things have changed, husbands know that their wives are not anymore dependent on them. This has disturbed their relationship.”

Dr Peerzada Mohammad Amin, Assistant professor, Sociology, University of Kashmir also supports this view. He says that a family in which both husband and wife are working are prone to inconsistent relations and thus have more chances of collapsing (relationships). According to him, the husband is always on the demanding side and expects his wife to do everything, to share the financial burden as well as to take care of the family, without thinking of her wellbeing. As a result, discrimination leads to disagreements and ultimately in break ups.

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