I don’t quite get it when somebody says working women are modern women. Women have always been working. Throughout history.
In many parts of India, a girl’s good health was a consideration when selecting a bride because she was seen as one more hand working in the fields and tending to the cattle, apart from regular housework like fetching water, washing clothes at the river banks, grinding, cooking, raising many babies etc.
The mothers often had to get back to work soon after a delivery. (One hears of babies delivered in fields, mother back to work the next day).
The babies were left in hammocks on trees (etc), older children looked after the little ones, the kids played in big groups, they got hurt, fell ill, drowned in rivers and fell into wells (still do), were picked up by wild animals and died of snake bites.
Mortality rate was high. Many babies died, many mothers died too. There were no Day Care Centers like we have today. Women felt privileged if they could afford not to work.
Nobody thought these women should not work. Their neglected babies and families did not become a topic of discussion, when it came to working-women gender roles were not rigidly defined or followed. Why?
Their work did not threaten the established norms, because they did not earn anything. They worked hard, but they were not independent.
Problems started only when they started getting their own money. It gave them the power to fight back against injustice.
Bollywood generally has working women who leave their babies ‘burning in high fever’ at home, but Mother India and Rihayi have a more realistic examples of working women.
Mirch Masala, my favorite, has suspense, drama, romance, lots of working women, women-bonding and a surprise ending! Have you seen the movie? Take a look !