A recent Nielsen survey of 6,500 women across 21 different nations, Indian women are the most stressed in the world today. An overwhelming 87% of Indian women said they felt stressed most of the time, and 82% reported that they had no time to relax.
The Nielsen survey's respondents blame the difficulty of juggling multiple roles at home and work. Career opportunities for women in "the New India" are rapidly expanding, but family expectations and social mores remain rooted in tradition.
Reading this I thought of introspection. Certainly it is alarming…. Indian society has rules and its difficult to break from them. In fact the educated working woman is more stressed and of what I see I somehow agree with it so thought of checking out with my own set of friends (both males and females).
A friend responded, “Agree! Also, not to miss the stress of missing a train or a bus to work”. She lives in Mumbai where every waking moment is clockwork, especially for the working class.
I asked another friend what was her stress?
To which she replied, “I do get stressed when I try to be ideal in all roles... for some years now, I have given up being "ideal" and have started taking all roles as they come - no more of stress now - in some roles I guess I am doing really bad but I guess that is ok with me. I can’t change rules & expectations so changed myself :) ”
Another friend said, “Not true....life is not a competition at office or at home. Be what you are and do what you can. At the end when you fall sick nobody will be there to look after you other than your husband...... Count on your individuality because you have one life and if you think of living for others, then when are you going to live for yourself.....all the rankings as best wife, best daughter in law, best employee will not do much for yourself.... think of your health first and then live your life...
The friend says, “you said it right - the educated woman is more stressed because she knows too many things and tries to excel in everything. There were days when I have felt my maid servant has a better life than me - not anymore :) ”
I knew what she meant and I also know a lot of women who were on the same boat. But education does give one the logic to hold the strings and be in control of herself.
A professor friend (male) of mine reacted to the question, “Correct! May be more. In a seminar where they stressed on retraining of women teachers I had to argue that unless you change the social attitudes this is useless. A woman gets up at five in the morning, cooks breakfast and readies the children for school, leaves herself for school to teach, comes back and cooks lunch for the family, then teaches her children, home work etc, then evening tea, dinner and sleeps at 11pm.Besides other household chores to complete. If there are more members, more stress and more work. So please change this environment first and then talk of re-training etc. And this is just one example, what to say of lower middle class and the poor? After this there was absolute silence! ”
Another male friend commented on the professor’s remark, “I agree to the latter part of your statement , but I think they are capable of handling both home and work.”
Now only the males are discussing the issue. Another one chips in
“when we were growing up there was a lot of talk about women empowerment and how they should have freedom to work and I tended to agree. But now I realize women in India have to juggle 2 jobs. They are always full time house wife, this job profile never leaves them and additionally they have to work to provide additional income. It is less of a choice then a matter of necessity. Two jobs mean double the stress no wonder 80% of them are stressed. Now I think our traditional set up was better suited to provide better support. Government is doing something good in this regard as it gives 2 yrs of paid rest to working mothers”.
To this one more friend commented, “ Working for money is the woman's choice. She is never forced to work. Today's so called 'liberated women' find it compulsory to work to prove something. (exceptions exist for every rule) What has happened is that you tend to find your identity in your job. Go back to your natural roles as the homemakers and you will find that though you have lesser 'say' in the marriage, you have a more fulfilling life: stress free! (provided you can recognise that the man respects you as much for your contribution in his family)
Now turn for my female friends
One says, “Its true and thats the challenge every woman takes and comes out as a winner. You are the creator of your own destiny..and everyone should be thinking they are individuals without gender bais....if we want to work let us work and find space for others happiness if we have committed our lives to those people be it our parents , our family... Stop complaining and being worried!!!! “
A college friend of mine shared her views, “Wow...so many comments! My two cents worth... I felt exactly like you said till a few years ago when I gave up trying to be the 'ideal' anything! I am happy to be who I am, with my strengths and 'non' strengths! I now do what gets me happiness in the time that I have! Only a happy me can spread happiness! It works for me and my family and that's what matters!”
To this comes the guy who didn’t somehow support the study, “Why does nobody consider what stress the man has to go through? I feel today's educated husbands are going through more stress than women! ”
No one is denying that, but women have always been on the receiving end ,for centuries.
He adds, “I agree...but it may be the case of 'crying baby gets the milk'...men never complained...today's husband to wife -father to child (combined with the huge task of providing a roof) is a BIG job profile!
BTW, I think I and Prof. are definitely comparing different types of wives. I've seen wives/mothers who get up at 8am since they insist on their beauty sleep, supervise the servants who come to wash clothes, cook breakfast, dust & clean the house, wash the utensils. Later they supervise the nanny who looks after their child. They make the effort to call up the driver, ensure that the car is cleaned properly, go to office. When these 'abala naaris' return from office, they make the effort to halt at the market on the way and buy food of their own choice. (The husband has already given up trying to suggest menu) The cook prepares dinner while the children return home from their playground/tuitions with the nanny... STOP this gender discrimination! Everybody can be stressed regrdless of age, sex etc.”
A study might show that men are 100 % stressed, but that won’t change the thing for women. The discussion really got interesting so I thought of sharing it on a larger platform and feature it on my blog!
I am not a feminist I believe in equality, May be my traditional upbringing has made be more like my mom and mom in law who, to me are ideal in every role that they have played. I have the additional urge to have a career and I am able to do so with the help of these two women. I can never measure up to them but I am happy who I am. Everyone is important including "Me"...