Should Women Work & Pursue Careers?
As more women join the workforce every day, Sadhguru gives us a nuanced perspective of whether women should stay at home or join the workplace.
Q: Nowadays, there is sometimes a disdain towards women who are housewives and are not employed. Even when we have young children, this attitude persists. What should one do?Sadhguru: Generally, people work for financial needs. If you are working out of a passion for what you are doing, that is different, but most people work for financial gain. So, if there is a financial requirement in a family, women going to work or pitching in by working from home is perfectly fine. The question is not about whether you should work or not. The question is about whether there is such a need or not.
If the need has become social rather than financial, I don’t see a need that every woman must work. The idea of creating so much technology in the world is that someday, we create a world where neither man nor woman needs to work. We can live on a vacation! But many people work because they are in a mode of compulsive action. They don’t know what else to do with themselves. That is an unfortunate way to be. Coming to women in particular, this idea that every woman should work has gained great momentum in the last 40 to 50 years. It has come because of a certain element of exploitation that happened to women because of their financial dependence on the man. As a reaction to that, women thought the only way is to go to work. But I think it is only in some families that such exploitation happens. It is not true with many families. The idea that you are a real woman only if you earn money, has been borrowed from the man’s mind. In the name of women’s liberation, women have taken on men’s values. This is true slavery. If she wants to become free, a woman should not take on man’s values. She should see how to enhance the feminine into a flower-like, fragrant existence on the planet. This is something only she can do.
Looking at Life Beyond Your Wellbeing
In terms of my personal experience, my mother never went to work outside, and my father would have never thought that she should work. But was she a useless person? Absolutely not. Without her, what would we be? Her dedication, the way she gave herself to her children and husband, is what has made us who we are.
A deep sense of concern, care and looking at life beyond your own personal wellbeing was something that was instilled in us simply by looking at her. There was no way you could miss it because her life was never about herself. With great joy, day or night, she served her family. This was not slavery, this was done out of absolute love. If you told her that she was being exploited, she would have been immensely offended because for her, it was such an experience of love to expend herself in doing what she was doing.
The world becomes beautiful not because you earn money. Whether it is an individual’s life or a family, community or the world, it becomes beautiful because there are a few people who exist out of their love, truly wanting to reach out and do something beyond their personal wellbeing. That is what makes the world beautiful.
A family is the smallest unit of community in the world, and if this does not happen in a family, it will not happen anywhere in the world. If a child is not exposed to this sense of love and dedication right from childhood, it will not happen.
Making a Difference
This does not mean a woman cannot do this if she goes to work. If there is a need to work, she has to do something about it. Once again, to take my mother as an example, she did not go to work, but she made sure that whatever could be done at home was done, so that it need not be bought in the shop.
Throughout my childhood, until I moved out of my family situation, I never slept on a pillow without a little bit of embroidery. She always made sure there would be at least some embroidery – maybe a little parrot or a little flower. Without this, my life wouldn’t be the same. She could have bought it in the shop. My father could afford it, but she made sure that she did that little thing. That was her way of pitching in. Whether you make money or you save money, it is still a contribution to the family. So, how a particular woman functions is an individual aspect. But no one needs to develop a philosophy that all women should work or all women should not work.