Everyone hopes to live in a world where nobody will be judged, but will that be easy to say for women in the near future? Throughout generations, women have been increasing their involvement in society, however, even till this day, there still remains a wide gap between men and women. It is very uncommon to see women independent and successful on their own. There has even been a weaker progression looking towards certain regions in the world. In modern popular media platforms, (including social media sites like twitter) people often link this to the middle east, however, the focus will be on China. The increase in women domestic work is due to the informal sector, the differences regarding women in the urban and country side (rural), and stereotypes of feminism.
Cartoon books; where children eagerly await their bedtime stories, are one of the overlooked sources that commonly portray women as unreliable and dependent on their male counterpart. There is a gender imbalance in childrens’ literature, where children at a young age are exposed to gender inequality, making young girls feel incompetent as they mature in society. Looking closer into cartoon books, such as fairy-tales, we notice that it mostly illustrates women being reliant on men to save the day. Children have become manipulated from the content they are exposed to when they are young, which negatively affects their way of perception towards this issue as they grow up.
Even though there have been several efforts to reduce the separation between males and females, there is still an imbalance towards the opportunity women get when compared to men in the same field. A study was done in 2011 which stated “urban women earn 67.3 per cent of men’s wages, while a smaller 2015 survey reported 87 per cent of female university graduates experience discrimination when seeking employment” (Feng, 2017). The increase in domestic work due to the informal sector, and the subsequent lack of regulations that occurs in China. In the rural and urban areas in China, domestic workers are nearly 50 percent of each gender. If the Chinese labour law does not provide by any means of protection, who is at fault? Is it the government? “Domestic work has been built up as an area able to solve the problem of womens’ unemployment, and “85% of all domestic workers are female (Wong, n.d.)”. The government does not take the initiative of finding a solution to stop female domestication in the workplace. Millions of workers in China are laid off, majority of them are consequently women, for instance “Massive layoffs (of which 70% are women)” (Wong, n.d.). ”I do not like housework but have to do it. My husband does a little, but I do not think men should do housework. Doing housework is a woman’s duty (Wong, n.d.)” is the opinion of the interviewers on her role in the family, which reflects the viewpoints of many other women living in China that are in her position.
The stigma of women being the sole caregivers of children, spend most of their time taking care of the children, “Prime-age women do, on average, 17.5 hours of housework per week, while men do 9.1 hours; women do 28.6 hours of childcare, while men do 12.1” (MacDonald, 2018). China’s care economy has not seen much attention from the state, this puts a burden on the families for the care of both the elderly and children. Women become the provider while, “a context of widespread male migration, the women left behind are solely responsible for both child and elderly care, in addition to paid work” (Rao, 2018). Continued responsibility for caregiving reduces women’s capacity to compete equally with men in the labor market, resulting in ongoing gender wage inequality. Neither the division of workload at home nor the ”male career model” for success on the job has changed, putting women at a disadvantage in the workplace (Sirianni and Negrey 2000). Women experience difficulty of maintaining the balance of work life and family; but women who have lower socioeconomic statuses face a different set of challenges. Gender inequalities are within all social classes, but low-income families’ stress levels are higher, ”while money cannot buy happiness, it can sure help people cope with work-life conflict” (MacDonald, 2018). On average, women spend double the amount of work that men do in the household, which makes household work a norm for the daily routine of women. Mobilization here does not question the burden of families, predominantly women, to provide care services, but emphasizes the working conditions of care workers and the regulation of the private sector to ensure quality care. An American study on females, demonstrates the difference between working a paid job versus an unpaid job, it found that “paid work is positively related to self-reported health status, as is time helping others, while time spent on housework is negatively related” (Chloe Bird and Allen Fremont 1991). This proves my point as to how women working in domestic conditions are looked down upon because of the comparison being related to an unpaid job; which makes it a harsh analogy.
Women are often defined as “housewives” that participate in household activities which are deemed as unskilled tasks, resulting in women lacking stability, security and incapability of supporting themselves. Majority of them struggle to find a praiseworthy job and are left with no other choice but to become domestic workers, “the National Bureau of Statistics of China, revealed that more than 72% of women had a clear perception of “not being hired or promoted because of gender discrimination” (Steinfeld, 2014). Feminists in labour organizations remain unrecognized, “they simultaneously wanted services such as legal aid, job training, and English?language classes that would help them quit domestic work. They felt that these needs, although addressed, were granted less legitimacy in a project meant for them but not defined by them” (Gupta,2008). Men are domestic workers too, but rarely have any responsibilities at home, (such as, feeding the children, cleaning the house, entertaining the guests). Women living in middle-class and upper-class environments have more privileges and can pursue their careers. “unlike that of their professional counterparts, the domestic workers’ workplace is in the private sphere. These poor working?class women ensure that houses get cleaned, laundry gets done, children get fed and put to bed, home?cooked meals are served, and friends and family are entertained” (Gupta,2008). This just shows what women contend with on being a domestic worker for a household; especially the lower class living women.
In conclusion, the domestic work for women in Canada has shown no visible signs of declining. Females’ integration in the domestic workforce has been shaped by the informal sector (private sphere), the urban and rural gaps between men and women, the demands of developed countries, and stereotypes involving women being the housewife. Actions need to be taken to ensure all women have equal job opportunities and fair treatment as do men. Majority of people ignore this problem and do not believe it is a huge issue, so they deliberately look away and pretend not to notice. Everyone hopes to live in a world where nobody will be judged, but will that be easy to say for women in the near future?