Quora thread exposes why the Indian husband feels household work is for wife

Pathikrit Sanyal
Pathikrit SanyalAug 02, 2017 | 12:05

Quora thread exposes why the Indian husband feels household work is for wife

If there was ever a mirror for what the entitled men of India think, coupled with a bad user interface, it is Quora. Bad questions on Quora come dime a dozen and they are likely to always induce an exasperated sigh. Just like this one:

Why should a husband share household chores if his wife doesn't earn even half of his salary and is working just to pass the time?


My wife-to-be earns 4.5 LPA (Lakh per Annum) and I draw 20 LPA. She said she won’t quit her job after marriage as she will get bored as a housewife. She expects me to help her in household chores. I frankly told her that please marry a guy who earns 4.5 LPA, he will do whatever you demand, did I say anything wrong?

Photo: Screengrab

This gentleman wants to know just why (oh, why) should he be expected to do household chores when he, simply by the virtue of being the "superior breadwinner", already fulfils his share of family duties. He makes it amply clear that he considers his spouse-to-be’s low-end job unnecessary and worthless. And, he firmly believes that being the person who earns more entitles him to feel superior to others who earn less, his fiancé included.

Let us break this down.

Gender pay gap

For all those who loudly harp on about how the "wage gap is a myth", here’s a reality check: It is most definitely not.

According to the Monster Salary Index by the online recruitment company Monster.com, gender pay gap in India stands as high as 27 per cent, where men earned a median gross hourly salary of Rs 288.68, while women earned Rs 207.85 per hour. So yes, men often get higher salary offers than women vying for the same title in the same organisation. 


According to Monster India’s managing director Sanjay Modi, the reasons behind gender pay gap can be attributed to the preference for male employees over their female counterparts. Male employees are promoted to supervisory positions more often because of various socio-cultural factors such as maternity leaves and household duties "normally expected" of married women.

Information technology, law, education, healthcare or finance – pick any industry and you will find that women are paid less. Even cricketers. The women’s cricket squad may have recently earned the India’s love and admiration, but they earn close to nothing when compared to the men.

Grade A and Grade B players in the women’s team are paid a yearly retainer or Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively. In comparison, the Grade A and Grade B players in the men’s team are paid Rs two crore and Rs one crore annually.

Photo: Screengrab/English Vinglish

Another report by Accenture Research says that the gender pay gap is, in fact, even higher than 27 per cent – as high as 67 per cent. According to the study, this disparity is the result of myriad reasons: such as more men being in senior positions (because of regressive practices that don’t allow most women in India to have a career past their marriage), men often being better educated (because of patriarchy's stranglehold prohibiting women from getting an equal opportunity in higher education) and work hours (because India is that unsafe for women, they can’t even work late nights).


“Cultural taboos about female employment make the problem more pronounced in cities. Even if women are highly educated, they aren’t allowed by in-laws and husbands to do any job outside the home”, said Ranjana Kumari, author of Gender, Work, and Power Relations, and director of New Delhi-based think tank the Centre for Social Research.

"Women are graduating to get a good groom, not a good job,” she added.

So, in conclusion, Mr I-earn-more probably does so,but not because of any inherent superiority in skill or talent, but most likely because of unfair social constructs that hinder the success of women at every single step.

Gender roles

India’s patriarchal bent of mind has made sure that we all grow up believing that household chores are the women’s department and earning, the men’s. Most of the time, people put forward useless beliefs that men were "hunter-gatherers", therefore, it is their natural instinct to earn; and women were "caregivers", so they should stay at home. Of course, these “thinkers” don’t stop to think for a moment that people have evolved. 

No. Domestic chores are not a woman’s natural realm. Sadly a lot of people continue to believe the opposite.

“Most research on housework suggests that couples divide housework along different axes; for example, lower-earning partners do more housework than higher-earning partners,” said Natasha Quadlin, a doctoral student at Indiana University, who conducted a study on household work disparity. 

A team from the University of Oxford looked into changes in the housework gap in 19 countries over the past 50 years. While all countries have shown a sharp decline in the gender chore gap – the difference between the amount of housework done by women and men – in minutes spent on housework, the gap in household chore persists, and antiquated gender roles have a huge part to play here.

A 2014 report by the World Economic Forum suggested that India’s gender chore gap is the largest of any country for which data is available. Women in India on average spend 351.9 minutes every day doing housework; in comparison, men spend just 51.8 minutes on such duties – a staggering difference of 300.1 minutes.

A 2015 Nielsen India study on Indian households found that over two-thirds of Indian women feel there exists inequality at home, between men and women, where men do not help with household chores. A five-city (1,000 person) survey conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in November 2014 reflects similar sentiments.

The survey says 70 per cent of married Indian women feel they spend more time on household work than with their husbands. The women complained about undergoing greater stress as compared to men – almost 85 per cent of working Indian women felt that they have two jobs, one at work and another at home. 


Women in India continue to be marginalised by entitled men in one way or another. Questions like the ones that were raised in Quora only prove that the belief that “men are better than women” is one that is still prevalent among men. The only way to make this stop is to actively be part of the change. Be it household chores or the professional sphere, women work more and earn less.

The "care-giver" myth has historically limited women’s options by asserting that motherhood was a woman’s sole purpose. But that myth does not have to be part of our collective delusion. It's time we break the mould.

Last updated: February 05, 2018 | 15:08
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy