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|Wives Mothering Husbands; Housewives' Complain of another Responsibility|
Abdul Rahim Al-Shawthabi ( YEMEN POST STAFF)
Article Date: July 07, 2008
Yemeni women spend long hours on childcare, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and doing laundry for their family, giving them no time to relax.
In addition to the extensive work, they spend more hours mothering their husbands as they feel obligated to follow the husbands desire and making sure they are relaxed.
A large number of men are forced to stay home due to the increase of unemployment, as this results in giving their wives more duties to fulfill along with their main housework. "My work hours as a housewife has risen nearly four hours a day after getting married because I am serving my husband even on matters that are simple like getting a cup of water" said 26-year-old and newly married Afrah Al-Ezani. “It's only me and my husband in our house, but I feel as if we were ten,” she added.
Fortunately, husbands agree that their wives are busier than they used to be, but believe that it is their responsibility to do the housework, as well as to cook for the family along with all the house needs.
Dating back two decades, girls used to prefer getting married young to escape the housework that was needed from them at her family’s house, especially in rural areas, where farmlands are massive and every bit of help is needed. “We work as hard as our husbands if not more. In the end of the day, they still think they are better than us, and are doing more for the family,” said Sameera Ali Al-Olaki, who mentions that she spends on average 29 hours a week doing the different housework.
Some women agree that even though it is difficult for them, they need to help in supporting the family, whether by working outside the house or doing housework. "Men tend to work more outside the home, while women take on labor in the house, and the situation gets worse for women when they have children," said 29-year-old nurse Jahmaih Ahmed.
In the same time, older women who live in the same house with the younger women, complain that they are not active enough, and do not do enough for the family, therefore forcing them to do more despite their old age. "Single or married women in their 20’s and 30’s do the least housework while married women in their 50’s and 60’s do the most," said Taqwa Naser, a 65-year-old who still has responsibilities at home, despite her old age.
From another angle, 22-year-old married woman Nawal Tawfeeq considers obeying her husband an honor for her. She mentions that by pleasing her husband she will please god, which in return will make her a happier person. "Husbands will always be grateful for wives who do their best in their share of the responsibility" she says. “The problem today is that women prefer to relax and watch T.V, and forget their marriage is a joint matter that needs cooperation from both sides.
Comparing women in rural areas to ones in cities, UNICEF reported that there is a wide gap between women in rural and urban areas in terms of access to education, health and other basic services, hinting women in rural areas have very little access to these services and sometimes work up to 16 hours per day in farms, carrying water and wood, and doing household tasks. Meanwhile, in cities women have more access to services, therefore making her job easier and faster.
Amal Basha, Chairwoman of the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) stated that rural area women under such situations are no more than food makers, stressing this should change. “Change in Yemen is taking too long, and the longer it takes, the more the suffering will increase for women.”
Many women agree that love towards their husbands is very important and hope that husbands understand that their relationship is not only sexual, but rather an everlasting life together. "When a woman loves her husband it means that she is his partner, working together toward a common goal and women can support their families," said 25-year-old Laila Salah." I will do my share of the housework in order to see my husband happy when he returns home."