Changing Roles of Men

It is amazing how the world is moving these days. A decade ago, we were talking about internet, the new millennium and women’s liberation. Life seems to have reached the next milestone in India with the liberation of women left behind and equality of sexes taking the forefront.

Since time immemorial, men have been the head of the family and the primary bread-earners. Women have been resigned to the taking care of home, kids and primarily kitchen activities. Till today, in certain traditional families, it is the men who take care of everything pertaining to out-of-the-house activities. In fact, they even do household shopping. But everything is set to change. With the fast-paced life individuals are leading today, it is upto them to shoulder the burden of living away from the family, be it man or woman.

As the young adults move out of the familial home to look for jobs in other cities, learning the skills of survival have become critical. They have to maintain an entire lifestyle on their own – starting from social circle to doing household work. While it is considered the forte of women in general, it is surprising how many men are rising to the occasion. More and more men these days are adept at the art of cooking. Some may have learnt at home while some learn it while on the run. It is not unusual to find a colleague discussing about what he cooked the previous night. Or even giving advice on how to make chana masala to a female colleague.

One might argue that such men are rare and exceptional people who generally tend to change after marriage. That, inadvertently, they slip into the gender specific roles of the Indian society. But the reality is different. Ask any working woman these days and she will be full of praise and pride over the household skills of her husband. Men have offered a helping hand in the daily chores and take an active part in deciding over paltry issues of the household. They even help in cooking and cleaning, the basic machinery that runs any household.

Husbands have become more aware of what goes into running a home especially if the wife is working. Is if like looking after two jobs simultaneously and if the chores are split, if the sweat is shared, the daily toil becomes easier to handle and it makes the marriage even stronger. Which wife would not love a husband who takes over the kitchen occasionally or who volunteers to do the shopping and run errands once in a while?

India has come a long way from its pardah system into the 21st century. Women are becoming more career oriented and careening towards being equal partners to men in all fields. Where women are catching up with men, men are not far behind. The gender-specific mould is being broken and roles are getting merged. Though the dream is a distant future, the day is not far when men will serve as house-husbands and women will be the working wives and the primary bread-earners.

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