‘I am just a housewife’: why a woman should never say that

When I hear a woman say these words, it upsets me no end. Using just five words, she is negating everything that she stands for: nurturer, idealist, carer, engineer, chef, designer, philosopher, mentor, counsellor, collaborator… I can go on with the number of roles she plays to get her family touch the heights it deserves to. By the way she is also the co-pilot on this journey.

So why is it that we have allowed this choice to become an almost apology? Since when has raising a family become so undervalued?

Since I can remember, I have had an issue with the demarcation between career women and women who do not pursue a job. (The latter-day band-aid term is homemakers). But I want to stay as far away as possible from all such terms. They hold no meaning for me.

I simply wish to see women for the potential they have as individuals, as one half of the human resource riches in this world who have a tremendous role to play in shaping the future. If women want to devote their full time to raising a family, I believe it’s the greatest gift to posterity.

My mother, my grandmother, and before her, the entire antecedents of my female lineage, were all women who raised families. They spent their life looking after our growth, imbuing us with values and nourishing us physically, mentally, and emotionally to take long strides on the road to goodness. What a great job they did! I feel proud to be of their blood and privileged to be a recipient of their love and selflessness.

I spent my childhood and growing up years surrounded by women who were the bastions of the family. They did not get up each morning to get to a job or run corporations. They woke up each morning to get to work – of raising wholesome, happy, creative, and compassionate human beings who will go on to play a meaningful role in the world is the greatest achievement of all. They were filled with courage, resilience, focus and compassion, and they gifted us with these so we too could flourish in life.

History is the stuff of women who have raised amazing sons and daughters. They don’t need to be labelled as housewives or homemakers or career women or any other term. What defines each of them is their name, face, spirit, soul, and identity. 

Designations can change but the intrinsic self remains constant. Our true self is our only calling card.

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