IrBM Arguments in Media – Part 2 (Short Update)

Shopaholic

In recent media debate pro IrBM school of thought have brought out 2 points of view. The first point of view is that women also assist in building the matrimonial assets. Their labour in the house is immense for which they should get equal property share and the other one is that by asking for a share in husband’s property, they are demanding their right.

Let’s critically evaluate every statement –

1)      Household Work: During the debates the household work done by women is treated as equal contribution in building matrimonial property. The work of the husband is completely sidelined or treated as something which he ought to do as his duty. Without going into the value of work, let’s analyze the number of hours put in by both men and women. As per the NSO[i] survey, women spend about 2.1 hours cooking food and about 1.1 hours cleaning the house and utensils daily. In essence, women put in a total of 3.3 hours a day in building matrimonial assets. Compare this to the hours put in by a man which is around 11 hours a day (10 hours of work and 1 hour of travel time). Therefore men essentially put in 3.33 times more effort and work in building matrimonial assets. Even if we include managing children as a chore, which it is not otherwise during separation the women would be giving the child’s custody to the father, the total time spent by women in household work increases to 6.46 hours. Even taking into account this stretched number, men put in 1.75 times more effort in building matrimonial assets.

Do note that in the whole calculation above we have not included the value of work done by men or women. Do take a guess as to who generates more value per hour in their work. Further, many women also outsource their household work to maid servants, salary of whom is paid by the husband. In essence, the husband has to work harder so that the household work may be outsourced by his wife on his expense. Still the women’s group demand equal property division of not only matrimonial but also ancestral property of the husband.

2)      Rights of Women: The second argument is on a rights approach wherein the school of thought supporting IrBM state women demand their right and they ought to get the same. A point of view here is that as per heirship and succession laws of India, women need to get an equal share of the property from their parents (ie. their right) . Inability to apply these laws is often cited as the reason to bring in IrBM. How can non applicability of one set of laws be a reason for passing an unjust act? Why can IrBM not be gender neutral wherein the property of both husband and wife is pooled together and then divided based on the effort put in by both. Will this method not be Just and Equitable. Currently as IrBM stands a section of society is being unjustly enriched in the name of rights and false gender equality.

In developed nations of the world such as Sweden and Germany, the propertiesof husband and wife are treated separately and only joint contributed property is treated as marital property. This comes from the tenet that all able bodied persons should be liable for their own upkeep[ii].

Do you still support IrBM?


[i] National Statistical Organization: Men and Women in India, 2012 – 14th Issue, Para 33

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