The Prisoners of Gender: Women, Education and Expectations

Online education has made class and caste differences in our society painstakingly clear. From women like Aishwarya Reddy who committed suicide due to the lack of resources available to pursue her education to every girl who faces hurdles that her male peers may never be able to relate to, nor experience their entire lives. For them, gender creates a cage that is inescapable and merciless.*

Overburdened, stressed and managing societal expectations alongside dreams of success- women are often pitted against a societal structure fundamentally based on their fundamental suppression. We witness this in our households daily- working women are expected to manage their house alongside their work. Gender roles and expectations are taught to women from an early age. Kitchen sets for the girls, cars for the boys. An added emphasis on teaching them how to cook, how to manage daily household chores- all to ensure that the men in the household don’t have to lift a finger.

Unfortunately, with everyone being relegated to their homes- these gender roles are thriving even more viciously.

If classes were offline, this would have been easier. With chores to do at home- especially on festivals when you don’t get breaks, you have no choice but to miss classes.

Riya Singh, a 2nd Year student, at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College while talking to DU Beat.

In a society that is slowly opening itself to women receiving education and equal opportunities- the institutions of family and toxic expectations circle them. Tied to the kitchen, and simultaneously expected to achieve great heights in their professional careers. This tie leads them to the point of unmanageable stress and exhaustion.

I’m applying to 2 entrance tests, both of them coming up in the next two months. Combine them with my college final year exams, additional exams for diploma courses deemed necessary for the perfect resume by my father, and household chores- I don’t even know where to start. I barely have any time for myself.

Tamanna Hooda a 3rd Year student from Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow, narrated a similar tale, while talking to DU Beat.

These discrepancies are simply the tip of the iceberg amid a long, long list of issues that have impacted women for generations. It is upsetting to witness this unequal allocation of labour in our households. Women’s relegation to the house and family causes so much generational misery. Education may make them equally skilled and offer them equal possibilities, but it is a fantasy. Women are chained to their houses, their family an unavoidable task, and taking care of the family is frequently pushed as the primary objective of their lives.

Gender Inequality is an issue that cannot be tackled in a day- but greater awareness can help highlight these issues and hopefully bring about a change in the way our homes function. The current division of responsibilities culturally promoted in families is unfair to women. Greater dialogue, communication and collaboration between the sexes can help us reform these outdated traditional norms and lead to more fulfilling lives for all.

*This article was originally published in our Education Themed Issue – Volume 15| Issue 10. 
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Read Also: ‘Was the DU ki Degree Really Worth it?

Featured Image Credits: Women’s Education Project

Chiransha Prasad

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Chiransha thinks writing in capitals is a personality trait. She lives off the enemies to lovers trope, and is a certified shopaholic.