21st Century Housewives
Why is it that, in today’s society, there is a sense of embarrassment attached to being a housewife. The very notion of a housewife drums up reminiscent images of the dutiful woman at home awaiting the return of her husband with his pipe and slippers at the ready! It is true that this epitome of a housewife is out of place in the 21st century, but should women abandon the role of wife and mother altogether in favor of a salary?
Housewives (in the UK at least) are looked upon as a waste of manpower – a potential employee who should be doing her bit for the economy. Mothers are given all manner of assistance with child care costs to enable them to leave their children and find employment. And if a mother works more than 16 hours per week she is awarded even more money in addition to her salary.
There are many reasons why married women with children work. Sometimes they have a profession that they are reluctant to relinquish, sometimes they discover that being at home with the children is intolerable, but most of the time they work for financial reasons. However it is unjust to create a society which perceives housewives as unintelligent, lazy or incapable.
After World War II there was much propaganda in the UK to encourage its women to return to the role of housewife, following their contribution to the war effort as land army and munitions factory girls. It seems that, during the war, women had discovered they had other talents besides cleaning and cooking. However, the government wanted jobs for the men. So the role of housewife was promoted for the women.
Looking back at the campaigns of the 1950’s that depicted wives as the ‘little woman at home’ one has to admit that this was derogatory and any woman worth her salt today, would balk at the idea of being treated as such. But it seems that, in an attempt to prove their worth, women have felt it necessary to reject the role of housewife altogether. Today, modern women are expected to be working women and the housewife is undervalued.
Housewives in the 21st century don’t warm their husbands slippers! They are intelligent, skillful, hard working and strong women. They usually have many talents, not limited to cooking and sewing and many are actively involved in the community. They are often conversant with computers, up to date with current affairs and capable of multi-tasking. Their skills may be varied, from horticulture, to DIY and sometimes deal with the household finances far more adequately than their partner.
In short, it’s time society stopped diminishing the role of housewife and started to recognize that it is a valuable job – without a salary!