Women economic empowerment is the root to inclusive and equitable economic growth. It sets a direct path to gender equality as well as poverty eradication. In a patriarchal society where crime against women is reportedly high and every day there are new cases of domestic violence, rape, harassment, separation, divorce; women economic independence is the need of the hour that which is one of the indicatives of women empowerment. The women are much more ahead of men in taking more responsibilities; they are more multitasking than men. Our patriarchal society has decided that men are meant for earning money for the family and that gives them a chance to escape from rest of the household responsibilities. In case of working women even if they earn they don’t hesitate to take the burden of the family; be it cooking, taking care of children and other members in the family, or be it attending parent teachers meeting, shopping, cleaning etc.
Society has much more expectations from women and it has become a trend. She plays multiple roles being a daughter, sister, wife, mother and the motherhood is the best stage of her life. A mother just mentally, physically gets involved in raising her children, she minutely checks everything starting from number of ounces per feeding, changing diapers, checking how many hours the kid has slept and bit by bit everything.
But, in most of the cases women quit their jobs once they become mothers just to take best care of their babies. It’s so obvious that a mother can only take the best care of her child which no other can do. A mother only knows the strengths and weaknesses of her child, when it’s the matter of her baby she gives her full and undivided attention to her baby which no other can give. It’s not always possible for a mother to join job after childbirth, because in many cases there is no family support, and a mother can’t leave her child with someone else and work in the office from 9 to 5, it’s too difficult leaving the kids in crèches is not that safe, also not good for mental, physical and emotional growth of the baby. So a mother has to be there with the baby.
At the same time, she can make her career like her male counterpart. For this our society, our government and all the corporate houses, recruiting agencies, employers need to take responsibilities to create sufficient work opportunities for women and especially for mothers, for new mothers, or in general for women.
There should be a policy made for women, for mothers to support them by providing home based jobs, online job opportunities, entrepreneurship opportunities, hassle free financial support etc. If we need women empowerment, economic development we must give working opportunities to women who are mothers, who have left their jobs, sacrificed their careers. More online job creation, home based and part time job creation are need of the hour. Our government must take it into consideration. During this Covid-19 pandemic we have realized that work from home can be possible in many sectors. If the government takes it seriously many avenues can be opened for women. In an internet era with a laptop, a smart phone and 24 hours Internet facilities a mother can work from home being with her child. So, is not it the responsibility of our government, our policy makers to create more jobs for mothers? It needs intense and elaborate planning too.
I have talked to many such women who want to work and earn, and restart their career. But, literally it’s not possible to leave their babies with others at home. The government and private offices are very strict about timing, 9 to 5 means 9 to 5 and no escape. Just imagine, if a mother stays in office 8 hours, won’t it affect the growth of the child who is the future of this country? I am sure that it will affect. So, a mother friendly cozy working culture must be provided to working mothers. But, for all it is not possible to do jobs and in that case home based, or work from home facilities are best options.
A detailed survey can be done in every state, district, block and panchayat level to track the number of women or mothers who are actually in need of home based or work from home job. Their qualifications, skills can be documented and there should be a government portal where they can register themselves with all details such as; their knowledge, qualification, experience, skills, expertise, and area of interests etc. Once there are vacancies, opportunities, they can be hired for work from home jobs; if they need training they should be provided training. A proper skill mapping during survey will help to provide suitable jobs to them. There are various jobs that can be done from home. I have met many such women who desperately need jobs. Some are divorced, some are single, separated, some have financial problems, but they can’t join formal job systems as they need to bring up their children and they have all household responsibilities on them. Some women or mothers possess great skills in the domains of culinary art, art and crafts, DIY ideas, yoga and fitness, stitching and embroidery, designing, painting, teaching, writing, blogging etc. Some are good researchers with analytical skills, some are highly qualified, have professional degrees, some can be good event planners and some are good at public relations. Besides, the moms can work from home as researchers, data entry specialists, recruiting coordinators, proofreaders, translators, graphic and web designers, garment designers, babysitters, health, yoga and fitness coach, online teacher, tutor, marketing and social consultants etc. If the skill mapping can be done from the beginning, at least many of them can be absorbed in different sectors and can work so comfortably from their homes. If they do their work properly and finish the assignments in time they will be paid a good salary, can get promotions and more projects to work.
Similarly, if some of them want to start their own businesses, or to sell something on Amazon, or on any sites, they should be properly oriented and issued all the necessary documents they need to do business, but it should be done by the intervention of the government. In many cases even all the women including me, we want to start our own businesses, be it catering business, opening a bakery shop or a laundry. But, we don’t know what documents, licenses are needed and how to obtain them, the process is very complicated that needs several visits to government offices, standing there in queues for long hours is really irritating and wastage of time. Sometimes, the whole process is delayed. Due to this most of the women can’t start their businesses, and they have no knowledge about all the prerequisites. In this case the government must support them and issue all the required documents so that she can easily start working. There must be a one stop portal to get registered for jobs, for starting own business, for mentioning all guidelines, prerequisites along with immediate solutions so that they can work in a hassle free manner. Hence, the process should be easier and should be done under government supervision. All the departments must come together to provide licenses, required permissions, and to give online clearances to women to start their work.
There are so many short and long term projects implemented by government and corporate sectors, so these mothers can be absorbed in those posts as per their skills and qualifications so that they can start earning. Government can also start its own entrepreneurship activities under its direct ownership, like garment designing companies, opening grocery and food stores, or other outlets, stores, shops, consultancy agencies, tour and travel agencies and food chains etc. where the women can work from their home by sharing their recipes, culinary skills or by directly selling snacks, pickles, spices, soaps, oil, own designs and products to government and can earn and become financially independent. The government can create large scale marketing facilities in national and international markets through exporting. It will create working opportunities not only for women but also for men. Along with its own set ups, the government too can collaborate with private limited companies, corporate houses and other recruiting agencies so that if they have vacancies, manpower needs, they can be filled through the government. But, the government must try this model on a pilot basis so that a lot of women or mothers can get work from home opportunities. A proper survey, detailed information, and database must be created to check fake entries, any type of job scam, fraudulence, or unwanted activities. Along with taking care of babies, their own families, the women can start their careers; can be economically independent which will reduce the rate of crime and domestic violence cases. It will ensure women empowerment as well as the nation’s sustainable economic growth. I hope that it will reach our government and policy makers so that we the women of India can get economic justice and can be economically independent. Being the taxpayers we too can be useful not only for our family but also for our country.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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