India in general and the Chandigarh region in particular fare poorly when it comes to males participating in household domestic work, according to a countrywide time use survey by the National Statistical Office. The survey, whose results were released recently, was the first of its kind conducted by the NSO from January to December 2019 to find out how people aged six and above spend their time in various paid and unpaid activities on a daily basis.
Only 26 per cent males in India aged six and above participate on a daily basis in unpaid domestic services for household members, and this ratio is the lowest in Haryana (14 per cent). In neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh and J&K, it ranges from 18 to 21 per cent. Gujarat and Rajasthan too have similarly low ratios.
“Haryana and Punjab are highly patriarchal states where the notion of masculinity is defined in terms of clear-cut roles for males and females. Men here have traditionally been discouraged from performing domestic work by their mothers, neighbours, peers etc and may even face ridicule if they do it, while girls and women are asked to do it by their parents and elders. Also, domestic chores such as cooking are elaborate affairs in these states and men are not allowed to learn these tasks in the first place,” remarked Rajesh Gill, a professor of sociology at the Panjab University in Chandigarh.
She said that the situation is gradually changing, especially in the case of working couples living away from their parents and relatives. “Compulsion, and not choice, is driving this change,” she added.
On the other hand, the northeastern states, known for having societies with a more gender-neutral outlook, were found to have a high rate of participation by men in domestic household work. It was 56 per cent in Assam, 49 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, around 45 per cent in Sikkim, 43 per cent in Tripura, 41 per cent in Nagaland, and 35 per cent in Meghalaya.
It was Goa, however, which aced the list. More than 60 per cent males in Goa do unpaid domestic household work daily, the survey found.
Mizoram had a comparatively low participation rate of males in domestic work but a high percentage of males who participate daily in unpaid caregiving services for household members, that is 44 per cent.
In fact, Chandigarh and its neighbouring states, too, fared comparatively better in terms of caregiving work by males. Against a national average of 14 per cent, the ratio was 21 per cent in Chandigarh, 15 per cent in Haryana and around 13 per cent in Punjab.
The lowest participation of males in caregiving work was found in Rajasthan (8.6 per cent) and Himachal Pradesh (8.7 per cent).
The survey covered nearly 4.5 lakh people aged 6 years and above in 1.4 lakh households across the country. It measured participation and time spent by people in paid activities, unpaid caregiving activities, unpaid volunteer work, unpaid domestic services, learning, socialising, leisure and self-care activities etc.
It found that around 38 per cent Indians participate daily in employment and related activities, spending an average of 429 minutes per day doing these activities. The participation rate of people in production of goods for own final use was found to be 17 per cent.
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