While every other job and economic activity gets noticed, the work and contributions of homemakers are seldom recognised or given credit.
In a step towards promoting social and economic equality, the Supreme Court in a recent ruling observed that the calculation of notional income of homemakers must be based on their work, labour and sacrifices.
The sheer amount of time and effort that is dedicated to household work by individuals, who are more likely to be women than men, is not surprising when one considers the plethora of activities a housemaker undertakes.
The apex court was hearing an insurance dispute case linked to the death of a couple by accident in 2014. While the husband worked as a teacher, the wife was a homemaker.
A tribunal had ordered the insurance company to pay ₹40.71 lakh as compensation to the family but the Delhi High Court, after hearing an appeal, reduced the amount to ₹22 lakh. The top court fixed the compensation at ₹33.2 lakh.
Elaborating on the amount of work done by a homemaker, the court said:
A housemaker often prepares food for the entire family, manages the procurement of groceries and other household shopping needs, cleans and manages the house and its surroundings, undertakes decoration, repairs and maintenance work, looks after the needs of the children and any aged member of the household, manages budgets and so much more.
The judgement aimed to change the age-old idea of not giving due economic and social recognition to household work.
The conception that housemakers do not 'work' or that they do not add economic value to the household is a problematic idea that has persisted for many years and must be overcome.
Homemaking and other domestic work have long contributed to social and economic wellbeing of any nation,large or small. Homemakers have served as the managers of household operations. Fixing notional income for homemakers a step towards a Constitutional vision of social equality. pic.twitter.com/yiEQOvoY79— Nishtha Satyam (@SatyamNishtha) January 6, 2021
A welcome change ... however considering ‘social equity’ - For every right that a person can enforce there must also be the onus of carrying out his or her responsibility! https://t.co/Rj6SBlVCzG— Jahnavi Dandekar (@JahnaviDandekar) January 6, 2021
We hope that this judgement paves the way for social equality and dignity for homemakers.