The Women and Child Development Ministry's infancy-stage proposal to introduce a monthly salary system for the various important ‘jobs' done by the housewife, is definitely interesting. No doubt it has raised many a well threaded eyebrow—not to mention frowns of those who don't need threading, on account of the always-argued (by married couples), yet unresolved topic!
An average housewife doesn't even think of doing a management degree to help her increase her efficiency levels in running her household. Administration, personnel management (maid, dhobi, gardener), financial management, housekeeping, internal catering, etc., come naturally to most. Nevertheless, if they are to be considered ‘house engineers' as reportedly referred to by the WCD minister, the ‘appointment' or ‘career title' (whatever it is!) sounds good (Refer Mona getting a good job on account of being the perfect ‘housewife' in Kya Hua Tera Wada?). Even if a homemaker is not task-savvy, she learns to be so in due course of time. So if the government finally feels all the effort deserves some good payment, who in their right senses, would crib? Oh yes, the other party concerned, i.e., the husbands would definitely not be amused if this new system were to come in place. They might want to then outsource ‘house managers' who would be paid but did not have the right to crib about the amount of work and hours involved.
Come to think of it, we Army wives could also demand for the establishment of a special pay commission. It could be called ‘The Army Housewives 1st Pay Commission' whereby the wives of soldiers could be paid a special allowance along with the regular housewife's/sub-category—Army housewife's pay—for having to do special duties that have to obviously be fulfilled presently without any pay/salary.
Examples of the ‘special duties' would be:
Carrying out welfare activities at unit, brigade, and division levels
Adjusting with erratic lifestyle of the army
Inability to have a stable job
Inability for children to have stable education
Always being prepared to move out at short notice
Living in remote places for indefinite periods
Understanding service protocol, manners, rank, appropriate respect and behaviour towards senior ladies, etc., without any orientation programme
Understanding the sensitivities of the husband's job and maintaining restricted communication with others as regards the same
Participating and contributing towards the ladies club meets
Maintaining the ethos of the Indian Army at all times
Notwithstanding the unspoken duties, the point is we Army wives have to actually fit into multifaceted roles that go way beyond the purview of the routine household chores and child/husband care. However, even if the housewife's salary was to come through some day, going by present speeds of monetary reimbursements for the services, it might take quite a while for the ‘special' allowance of the unsung heroines of the armed forces to come through. In the meantime, we ‘bash on regardless'! Sounds familiar, anyone?