People sometimes consider sexism in the developing world to be the result of attitude problems in a backward society. I believe that this is a negative assumption to make, and the reality is that simple changes to the home could be a catalyst to female empowerment. The issue is that these things cost money.
Consider your house with no:
- Washing machine
Some of the richest homes in Tamil Nadu are without at least two of these objects and though it may seem superficial, these items actually have a massive impact. A kitchen in Tamil Nadu will have no oven, microwave, fridge or freezer. Without these things women have to shop for fresh ingredients and cook every meal from scratch on two gas hobs. This takes a lot of time.
Without a washing machine women also have to hand wash the entire family’s clothes. (even washing for one is tiring, believe me)
So though women may not be breadwinners they can’t just ‘get a job’ because the role of housewife in the developing world is a full time job.
Not only does this hold down the economic role of women but number 3 affects women most of all. The widespread lack of toilets in Indian and African homes makes women vulnerable to abuse as they need to go out at night to defecate.
So, how would people in the UK react under similar conditions? No street lighting, three power cuts a day, few household facilities, poor education, unregulated manual labour, and open defecation.
Don’t blame the culture, blame exploitation and struggling systems.