Work from home in India is disproportionately stressing out mothers

Unevenly anxious.
Unevenly anxious.
Image: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
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For several Indians, September marks the sixth month of working from home because of the pandemic. Depending on whether you are parents or child-free, these months could feel longer or shorter.

And if you are a woman in a heteronormative household, your experience is likely to be vastly different from your male partner’s. More Indian women than men have reported feeling more stressed while working remotely, according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, a fortnightly pulse on the confidence of the workforce.

This difference in the levels of stress experienced by men and women is a consequence of how childcare responsibilities are divided among couples. Between July 27 and Aug. 23, nearly twice as many women said that they are currently providing child care full time.

Women assume the role of the primary caregiver in most Indian households, a gender divide perpetuated by years of ingrained patriarchy. More men, on the other hand, have said that they rely on a family member or friend to help them out with child care.

With this additional household load, more women have also reported working outside of business hours to make sure their kids’ needs are met. As a result, over 46% of working Indian mothers have said they work till late to complete professional tasks, and 42% have reported being unable to optimally focus on work.