While appearing on Good Morning Britain, Faryal Makhdoom was of the opinion that stay-at-home mothers (or as she describes them: “CEO of the house”) should receive a salary.
“We’re not just looking after our children but the entire house. A CEO of the house that’s not getting paid. It’s laundry, cooking, cleaning, looking after your children, and I think when you put it all together, we should get paid more than a surgeon or a lawyer, it adds up to £100k a year, more than that,” she shared in conversation with hosts, Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway.
She addressed the elephant in the room by admitting that she has help around the house but added: “What about some of my friends who can’t afford it, they have to leave work to look after their children because childcare is more expensive and their husband’s don’t have that extra money to give their wives. I feel like we’re helping the economy by staying home and doing all the work we would be getting from the government.”
Amelle Berrabah, a former Sugababes band member disagreed with her, saying that having children is a choice and shouldn’t be viewed as a job. Makhdoom also recieved a lot of flak for her view online.
However, we feel like Makhdoom does make a fair point about the unpaid labour that women do across the globe but especially in desi households.
Our society thinks household chores are the responsibility of women alone. These tasks include childcare, cooking, cleaning, domestic upkeep, the list goes on. And don’t even get us started on the emotional labour of keeping a family together.
Either women are not working because “who will look after the household then?” or they are and are shouldering a double burden: juggling between the domestic set-up and a career with little to no help from their partners. We need to be having conversations about the redistribution of domestic work and the invisible labour women have been doing for years and continue to do today.