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India 02-Nov, 2023

Narayana Murthy's 70-Hour Work Advice: A Wake-Up Call for India's Unsung Working Women

By: Manya Upreti

Narayana Murthy's 70-Hour Work Advice: A Wake-Up Call for India's Unsung Working Women

While men are typically preoccupied with their work, women are expected to strike the right balance between their professional and domestic responsibilities. Image Source: Times of India

Indian women have been working far more than 70 hours per week for years, mixing professional duties with domestic tasks and motherhood.

In a recent statement, Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys, raised eyebrows by advocating that young professionals should work 70 hours per week to attain success. While this suggestion prompted a national conversation about work-life balance, it also revealed an unseen and unspoken reality: Indian women have been working far more than 70 hours per week for years, mixing professional duties with domestic tasks and motherhood. This phenomenon isn't limited to urban areas; it extends to rural India, where women bear the brunt of multiple chores and responsibilities.

In response to the comment by Narayana Murthy- Radhika Gupta, CEO and Managing Director of Edelweiss Mutual Fund expressed her views through her social media. She penned "Between offices and homes, many Indian women have been working many more than seventy-hour weeks to build India (through our work) and the next generation of Indians (our children). For years and decades. With a smile, and without a demand for overtime. Funnily, no one has debated about us on Twitter". Her post soon gained popularity. Many people agreed with Gupta's remarks, recognizing Indian women's untiring work and pushing for greater recognition of their achievements.

For decades, Indian women have carried the combined weight of work within and outside the home in silence. While men are typically preoccupied with their work, women are expected to strike the right balance between their professional and domestic responsibilities. Because of this hidden expectation, Indian women work relentlessly, putting in more than 70 hours each week on average. Murthy's suggestion has generated discussions about the significance of work-life balance and the toll that extended work hours can take on a person's physical and emotional well-being. Many have questioned the practicality of his counsel, claiming that it could lead to burnout and have a bad impact on personal lives. However, these issues have frequently overlooked the challenges of Indian women who have been laboring around the clock without recognition.

The Silent Suffering in Rural India:

For women in rural India, where domestic chores, livestock management, and agricultural labor are the main focuses of life, the situation is much more complicated. These ladies frequently work without set hours or days off, from sunrise to sunset. As they deal with the difficulties of their responsibilities as daughters, wives, mothers, and caregivers, their lives serve as a tribute to their everlasting tenacity and fortitude.

In villages, women are not only in charge of their homes and children, but they also play a significant role in providing for the family's needs financially by working in manual labor and farming. Work-life balance may seem like a pipe dream when getting by each day is a struggle.

To address these issues, it's imperative to consider both urban and rural contexts and find comprehensive solutions.

  • It is essential to encourage shared responsibility at home. To lessen the load on women, males should take an active role in childcare, domestic tasks, and providing care.
  • Encouraging a good work-life balance, allowing flexible work schedules, and helping staff members manage family obligations are all ways that employers can foster supportive work environments.
  • By providing access to technology and better farming practices, investing in the education and skill-building of women in rural regions may empower them economically and lighten their labor.
  • Programs to increase awareness of women's rights and gender equality can be organized by NGOs and local communities. In addition, they can help rural women by giving them access to childcare and medical services.
  • Government policies ought to prioritize advancing gender equality in the workplace, giving rural communities access to healthcare and education, and empowering women economically.

Indian women work extremely hard, yet their dedication has not always been acknowledged or valued. It is crucial to recognize their achievements and to emphasize the need for a more equitable division of duties. It is imperative to start a national conversation on gender equality, work-life balance, and shared home responsibilities to address this problem.

For both men and women's wellbeing, gender equality is crucial in the job and at home. It's time to acknowledge the countless hours that Indian women put in and to give them the respect and assistance they merit. Women shouldn't bear the entire burden of juggling work and family obligations; this is a societal problem that requires cooperation to be solved. To ensure that women's contributions are acknowledged and valued in both their personal and professional lives, it is imperative that India hold an inclusive and transparent dialogue on gender roles, shared responsibilities, and work-life balance.

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