Slogging to earn a doctorate degree was not enough for 34-year-old Nisha Singh to continue job after she had her first child. Her husband, a software engineer, and her educated parents convinced her to become a homemaker for the sake of the newborn and the family.
Reluctantly, Singh, who was earning around Rs. 40,000 a month two years ago, agreed as there was no other family member in Delhi to take care of her infant.
She is among the growing number of Indian women who sacrifice their careers for the sake of family.
A national sample survey organisation (NSSO) report said around 46.4% women in India were engaged in domestic duties in 2009-10, an increase of about five percentage points since 1999-2000.
Domestic duties for the survey included activities related to home agriculture production, household poultry, processing of primary products for the household and cooking.
The survey, covering around one lakh households and based on interviews with women up to the age of 60 years, found the shift higher in the urban areas. In urban areas, the jump was of about six percentage points and about three in rural areas.
But, for a majority of these women (62%), like Singh, the reason for staying at home was “no other member to carry out domestic duties”. Ranjana Kumari of Women Power Connect, said with the groing number of nuclear families, women have to sacrifice their careers. Kumar felt that such a trend was not positive as India was losing its vital human resource for domestic duties, which are not counted as progressive economic activity.
A small but significant number of women (15 to 17 %) have to perform home duties because of social and religious constraints, the survey said. For about 7% to 10% women, the reason for staying at home was unaffordability of a maid.
The report also said that around 33 % women in rural India and 27 % in urban areas wanted to work from home on a regular basis but there were very less opportunities.