Where I stay, there is an interesting dynamic in gendered work. Men do most of the work. They serve the tea to the office workers, they do the janitorial work, they run the cafeteria and pantry, and they they even do the room service. And the women? Either they are rather inefficient yard workers or they work in an office.
The yard work is very inefficient. Just today, I saw women in pastel saris and burnt orange faces, attempt to clear away a felled sub branch of a tree by HAND — I mean bare hands, no protective gloves. You see these women with the grace of delicate women, break of snippets of the tree and gather the snippets into tidy packets of firewood. It seemed to me, a job perfect for one woman, gloves and a very masculine chainsaw.
In the murderous heat, the pillars of saris squat on the ground doing planting flowers, even sweeping dead leaves with frond brooms. There is no urgency or a swiftness just resignation — at least these women whom I hear are uneducated, have a job in an cushy ordered environment. The others are not so lucky.
In India, on one hand, at the professional level, they are enough women that rival men but those women unlucky not to have been inadequately educated (of which they are legion) compared to the similarly under-educated men, they have a shittier existence.
Everyday, I read of least one report of suicide in the newspapers, of women drinking poison (seems to be their preferred mode of going) especially after arguments with husbands or their family. Even today, I read of a woman who killed her baby and then immolated herself.
Well, I suppose I should just give these women some work gloves.