The Supreme Court on Tuesday mentioned that the value of a woman’s work at home is as equal as her husband who is an office worker. The court was dealing with a case of a couple who died when a car hit their scooter in April 2014 in Delhi. Considering the same, the top court increased the compensation amount to be given to the relatives of the victim.
The Supreme Court increased the compensation amount from Rs 11.20 lakh to Rs 33.20 lakh, that has to be paid to the father of the deceased man by the insurance company with 9% annual interest from May 2014. As reported by the TOI, the decision was given by the bench of Justices N V Ramana and Surya Kant.
The court analysed the matter from 2001 Lata Wadhwa case, which dealt with a similar issue of compensation for victims of a fire during a function and had ruled that it should be granted to housewives based in accordance to the services rendered by them in the house.
Considering the data presented by the 2011 Census, the court cited that 159.85 million women mentioned “household work” to be their main occupation, as against the number of male homemakers at only 5.97 million.
The court also looked at the National Statistical Office titled ‘Time Use in India-2019’, where the data suggested that women spend nearly 299 minutes a day on unpaid domestic services for household members, while men spend only 97 minutes. Simultaneously, the report also suggested that women spent 134 minutes on unpaid caregiving services for the household members, whereas men spent 76 minutes everyday.
Thus, according to top court, the ratio of the time spent in the activities per day makes it look clear that a woman on an average spends 16.9% and 2.6% of their day on unpaid domestic services and unpaid caregiving services for household members, whereas, the men spend 1.7% and 0.8% respectively.
Justice Ramana noted,
The sheer amount of time and effort that is dedicated to household work by individuals, who are more likely to be women than men, is not surprising when one considers the plethora of activities a homemaker undertakes.
The Supreme Court also said,
A homemaker often prepares food for the entire family, manages the procurement of groceries and other household shopping needs, cleans and manages the house and its surroundings, undertakes decoration, repairs and maintenance work, looks after the needs of the children and any aged member of the household, manages budgets and so much more.
Women in Rural Areas
While talking about how the woman in rural areas work, Justice Ramana asserted that they often also assist in
sowing, harvesting and transplanting activities in farms, apart from tending cattle. This issue of fixing abstract income for a homemaker, therefore, holds a vital function and is a recognition of the multitude of women engaged in this activity, whether by choice or as a result of social/cultural norms, pronounced the SC.
The bench added,
It signals to society at large that the law and courts of the land believe in the value of the labour, serviced and sacrifices of homemakers. It is an acceptance of the idea that these activities contribute in a very real way to the economic condition of the family, and the economy of the nation, regardless of the fact that it may have been traditionally excluded from economic analyses.
The court concluded,
It is a reflection of changing attitudes and mindsets and of our international law obligations. And, most importantly, it is a step towards the constitutional vision of social equality and ensuring dignity of life to all individuals.
- Firstly, the term homemakers is synonymous to women because the onus of providing for every home solely rests on the man
- Any statistics or comparison of the time spent by women Vs men towards home chores is not justifies, because while women are working at home, men are equally slogging at work to ensure there is food on the table
- One may argue that a man is being paid to do his job, while a woman is not
- The salary earned by a man is not consumed independently by himself. Infact he would be the last person in any home to buy gifts or items or splurge on himself; the priority is always wife, children and parents
- Do courts account for joint accounts, joint properties and assets which women own by default purely because they hold the status of wife?
- What about equal financial contribution of a salaried wife towards the expenses of her home? Do we see emphasis on the same? Most often, working women maintain separate individual accounts, but a husband is expected to provide them with financial security by holding a joint account with the woman
Homemaker Filed Cruelty Charges As She Was Expected To Do Work In Her Own Home
- Getting into emotional argument of family bond could be futile to hard core feminists, because everything in a marriage is highly commercial for them
- Lets also analyse the presumed house responsibilities by the court as above Vs the actual work done by women today, largely in metros and even Tier II and III cities
- How many homes are deprived of maids in 2021? Why do feminists and courts want to paint an image of 1970s where women would be in the kitchen through the day and fading out by the time they reached their 30s!
- Several women today, voluntarily choose not to work and sit at home, have maids, yet label their profile as ‘household’ work. Many women today do not want pressures from professional environment which is highly demanding, and prefer to take up endless hobby courses after marriage
- Providing salaries to homemakers will further discourage several women from taking up professional careers, as the only qualification required to get the x sum per month, will be to tag themselves as someone’s wife
- Lastly, husbands perform the role of a default driver, mechanic, 24/7 house engineer, electrician, tutor to children, etc. What is the value of his dual work at office and at home? It is surely absurd to put a price tag, because he is doing it for his family, like the way a woman does it for hers
- Things may look progressive and equal from a social media point of view, however, practical realities will be very different, only further denting the institution of marriage