I have blogged in the past about the need to share child care responsibilities with husbands/male partners, not as a favor to women, but because it is the right of the man to be involved in nurturing the child. By keeping them away from the role, we are denying them a significant experience in life.
The same is true not just for child rearing but any household responsibilities. There is a certain ‘learned helplessness’ when it comes to men and household responsibilities, because somewhere it is just not expected of them to do it. Even when partners expect men to pitch in, within joint families and extended families in India, somehow it is still not acceptable to see the man doing any household work, and it is considered to reflect badly on both the man (who is a pereceived to be a bit too soft and allowing his wife to boss him) and on the wife (who is perceived to be either ‘incompetent to do all the work herself’ or a ‘shrew who makes her husband work for her’).
Such perceptions are obviously unfair to women. But they are more unfair to men. While we women have now had opportunities to work outside, to overcome so many of our ‘learned helplessness’, and to enrich our lives through our dual roles, why then should we restrict the men to their traditional roles. Should they not have a chance to balance dual responsibilities. Our lives are so much fuller and colorful because we face different challenges : how to prepare a healthy tasty meal is as much of an intellectual challenge as pitching an idea to a client. We allow our brain to do all these exercises, shouldnt our partners now have this chance.