WORK FROM HOME : A CHALLENGE FOR WOMEN MENTAL HEALTH
Lisika Das 38 years old, took years to set up a beauty parlor in the Goutam Nagar area. She said that she struggled hard to set up her business, but the pandemic shattered everything. Her shop has been closed since March and she is forced to take loans to manage her expenses even the income of her husband has also been affected. The stress led to family disturbance and cracks in relationships. Namita Mohanty a Psychological Counsellor highlighted the work-life balance of women has been suffered during pandemic. Women are overburdened with double work.
Women from the start have faced a lot of problems in maintaining their social standards. And now that we had reached that era when women were working and appreciated for the multitasking that they have always been doing. Working outside the home gave women an opportunity to fully concentrate on their work during their work timings and paying attention to their home relations when they are back home. As we all know because of the pandemic everybody was stuck inside their homes, including the working women. Working women compare to working men are very different, men come back from work and all they want to do is relax while on the other side when working women come back home, they have to take care of their husbands, family, spend time with children and also manage the household work.
Due to lock down and work shifting online, women had to work from home. As now researches and studies are coming out, we know that it has drastically become very difficult for women to manage all the things altogether. According to Azim Premji University, it found out that 47% of women who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been permanently stuck at home as stated because of the pandemic a lot of work opportunities have been permanently removed for them. The lower social-economic woman among the others who were previously doing some unskilled jobs have been left out from the earning industry and can't find any low skilled work, like either in a factory or some domestic help which knew all of us had to take a break from it which impacted their wages and eventually leading to problems in daily life and economic hardships. Women already face discrimination in the market. One man and a woman having the same qualifications would be paid differently as men are paid more than women in a lot of labor markets which already impacts the woman's mental health. It's not just the lower economic woman but also women with degrees and graduation who are too facing difficulty.
Because women working online and staying home are suffering from depression and anxiety as they're not able to maintain a proper work-life balance. The office expectations and as well the home expectations from women are way too high for them to meet. Having to meet the work targets and also take care of their home, and they are being homeschooled with online classes for their children, parents have to pay more attention to them as well. Everybody thinks that when working from home is just working from your comfort zone but it is the complete opposite for women as it has just increased their responsibilities. Women who had started their own businesses went into a downfall because everything was closed and their loans or their expenses were affected leading to family disturbance and problems in relationships. In simple words, working women are left with no “Me time”. Women are not getting enough personal space to breathe or even went out their own feelings and frustrations before anybody because they can't leave their house as their work is home and then they have to manage their family also. As pandemic and lockdown have increased the number of crimes, domestic violence is one of them.
Women are feeling burned out as compared to men and in long term working from home has left any negative impact on women 79% of men compared to 37% of women have found work from home experience so we see the amount of satisfaction among women and men. A number of women have also left their work because they could not manage work and home responsibilities together. As our culture already says that men are supposed to work outside the house and women to stay at home but women had braked this stereotype, but now they are back home so men and the family of the woman expect those responsibilities from her. The burden of domestic labor is not equally shared among the family members which is directly proportional to the amount to stress women are experiencing. With no help from maids or outside people lead to more frustration among women. Off-line work gives people the opportunity to connect with others during their work which was very underrated before the pandemic and now everybody is realizing its importance because of the lack of it. As human Connection and interaction lead to a positive change in people which now because of its lack lead to negative moods among women.
There is a need for the work institution to understand the situation of women working online. And as the number of mental health problems in issues has increased drastically in women so it is better for the workplaces to understand the problems of women so it can be diminished and they feel understood instead of declining mental health.
As our old culture states that men are supposed to work outside of the house and women inside, despite of women breaking through this stigma are now back in their houses because of online work. Once abilities have doubled as they have to meet their work tasks and also meet the responsibilities of home and manage their kids who spend their whole day at home all the time. Economically low and high women both are suffering from mental health problems because of pandemic leading to problems in work problems.