Dear Society, Stop lying to us that you treat men and women equally. Since my childhood, I have seen my family and society crediting my father for all the success as a family we made.
“See Krishan is giving his kids such good education. He is sending them to one of the best schools in the city!”
“Krishan is so hardworking. Because of his hard work, his family could afford a 3BHK flat in the heart of the city!”
“Krishan’s daughters are doing so well in life. It is because he never treated them any less than his son!”
As a kid, these words would always fill me with pride. And, why not? My father, who was a son of a vegetable seller, pulled himself up in the ranks to give his family a great living. But, it wasn’t just my father who was behind all these achievements. There was one more silent player, who was never given her due credit and that was my mother.
My mother, who may not be as educated as my father, was equally or even more hardworking. She was the one who made sure that all her three kids get the best education. Even if it meant, she had to give tuitions throughout the evening after teaching at school?
While she was working so hard at school and after school, she still did all the household chores on her own. Though my father and all kids stepped up to support her, she still never hired help just to save some money so that we can afford our own house.
But what left me shocked, was while my father’s hard work was applauded by society and my family; no one ever stepped up to applaud my mother and gave her due credit.
Unfortunately, it never clicked me till the day, the society celebrated my husband’s achievement and refused to acknowledge mine.
Before you jump to a conclusion and label me as a bad wife for being jealous of my husband’s achievement or blame for being hungry for the limelight, please stop reading the post. Because this post is neither about me nor my achievements. This post is about a general observation of how our regressive society blinds itself to the achievements of women in our own homes. This post is just about the sense of accomplishment that many women are deprived of because of their gender.
I am not talking about taking away the credit of our men, who work really hard to provide the best they could for the family, rather am talking about giving the due share of credit to the women, who work equally hard for the betterment of families!
My moment of truth
In our lives, we all encounter a moment, that opens our eyes to the truth that we were blinded to for years. And, that moment came into my life when my husband and I bought our first house. Finally, after 5 years of saving money, when my husband and I decided to buy a house, we were extremely thrilled. It was like our achievement as a team, as a couple.
But, though we were seeing it as a joint achievement, society was viewing our achievement through its lens of patriarchy.
Anu, my husband, wanted the house to be in my name, but I wanted it to be in both of ours. It didn’t matter to us whose name was on paper, but it definitely mattered to people around us. My in-laws were quick to announce that the house should be in name of my husband. After all, he is the ‘man’ of the house. It was then, I realized how people were viewing it as my husband’s achievement and not mine!
My husband and I finally got it registered in both our names. But, still for my in-laws, especially for my mother-in-law, the house was her son’s achievement. She told everyone in our circle that Anu bought a new house. Leave aside mentioning my name, she didn’t even bother to congratulate me. When we threw a small party for our new home, my in-laws raised a toast to my husband. My father-in-law said:
“Shaabash Anu! It is such a great achievement at such a young age. We are so proud of you! Keep progressing like this and make us proud.”
But, what was even more heart-breaking what my father said:
“Congratulations Anu. We are so proud of you! Neena, you are blessed to have a successful husband like Anu. God Bless both of you!”
And, as I was recovering from the shock of how my own father sidelined his daughter’s achievement, my mother surprisingly saved me. She said,
“Neena, I am so proud of you both! It is quite amazing how you and Anu worked so hard to reach at this point in your life. How both of you strived in your career and build this beautiful home!”
At that moment, I realized how for so many years, we let society discredit our mom’s contribution to our lives. How much unfair we have been to her. While I was thinking about controlling my emotion, Anu raised a glass and said:
“Dear all, thanks for your wishes. But, I want to tell you it wasn’t possible without the woman of this house, Neena. This achievement is as much mine as it is hers!”
This incident made me realize how even in the 21st century, our society still sees men and women so differently.
It is heartbreaking how many women strive hard to be equal partners in marriage, but they hardly get credit for their contribution. It is sad how our achievements are often sidelined by very own people who we care about.
Dear Society, can we please stop blinding ourselves to the contribution of women; and start crediting the ‘women’ of the house as we credit ‘men’!