Women's 'double day' in middle-class homes in small-town India

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Pallabi Sil

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    As middle-class Indian women become economically more active, it is worth exploring who is doing the housework. Are gender roles shifting within the household across the board in urban India? This paper shifts research attention away from the metropolitan cities to a small mofussil town, a relatively conservative urban centre where gender roles have so far been more resistant to transformation than in metropolitan cities that are undergoing radical changes about which much has been written. The methodological tool used in the study is a time-use survey, aimed primarily at extracting quantitative data, to make visible the unseen, unpaid and underpaid work and activities undertaken by women. Individual interviews were used to measure the actual workload of the women as a proxy indicator of gender disparities at the intra-household scale. The paper concludes that conventional sex segregation in household tasks has not changed significantly, and that women's various engagements in the public sphere have doubled the burden of responsibilities. The conceptual and methodological implications of the investigation lie in a reinterpretation of what constitutes 'work' for middle-class women, offering renewed understanding of the ways in which women (re)negotiate gendered responsibilities at home and outside of it in rapidly changing times.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-405
    JournalContemporary South Asia
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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