21. Reading Skills Comprehension: Employed Wife Or Mother

Employed Wife Or Mother

Doing housework, taking care of children, and carrying out assorted jobs for husbands are work just as much as is performing paid employment in an office or factory. To ignore this is to do a disservice to women in the labour force. The reality of housework is that women’s work in the home averages 56 hours per week for a full-time homemaker, and 26 hours per week for an employed wife or mother. Husbands and children barely increase their contribution to housework and childcare when the wife or mother is in the labour force. As a result, an employed woman with family responsibilities gives up most of her other leisure activities to carry out the responsibilities of family life.

 We realise that it may sound strange to hear women’s activities at home called work. Since women who do housework and take care of children receive no salary or wages, homemaking is not considered ‘work’. Some people have proposed that the solution to the problems of employed housewives would be simply to pay women housewives for being housewives. Hence, women with heavy family responsibilities would not have to enter the labour force in order to gain income for themselves and/or their families. This is not a solution for many reasons. Wages provide income but they do not remedy the isolating nature of the work itself. Unless women and men are paid equally in the labour force and there is no division of labour by sex, women’s work at home will have no value. Since it is not clear what constitutes housework, and we know that housework standards vary greatly, it would be difficult to know how to reward it.

 Pay for housework might place homemakers (mainly wives) in the difficult position of having their work assessed by their husbands while in the case of single homemakers it is not clear who would do the assessing. Wages for housework, derived from spouse payments, overlook the contribution women make to the society (e.g. by training children to be good citizens) and assume that their work is only beneficial to their own families. Finally, payment for housework does not address the basic reason why women with family responsibilities work.

(a). On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions briefly:                     

(i) Why is an employed woman deprived of the joys of leisure?

(ii) Why is home-making not considered work?

(iii) How long will a woman’s work at home have no value?

(iv)How do women make a contribution to society?

 (b) Complete the following sentences by choosing the correct options:-  

(i) A housewife works for…………….. hours per week.

a.56                       b. 55                           c.  57                           d. 54

(ii) Employed women have to work more when …………………

a.they join other offices

b. they undertake family responsibilities too

(iii) The contribution of husbands and children towards housework is ………………

a.Maximum               b. equal       c. up to a great extent      d. minimum

(iv) The assessment of housework from the point of view of payment is …………………

a.an ordinary task     b. a task beyond limits   

c. a difficult task         d. none of these


1.(i) An employed woman is deprived of the joys of leisure because she also has to cart out family responsibilities.

(ii) Home-making is not considered work because it has never been considered a pail job like office or factory employment.

(iii) A woman’s work at home will not have value so long as men and women are not treated at par with one another for payment in the labour force.

(iv) Women make a contribution to society by training children to be good citizens.

 (b).      (a) 56

(ii)        (b). they undertake family responsibilities too

(iii)       (d). minimum

(iv)       (c)a difficult task

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