Economic Burden on Men vs. Women in the family and the country
Economics of home decides a lot about economics of the country. Money spent and saved in a family directly or indirectly goes into contributing the economies of the country and the world. World today is a world full of dual income homes.
Dual income in family is an asset, if spending and saving are balanced properly with age and getting contributions from both husband and wife. Balanced contributions from both husband and wife can help them keep their economic independence intact and also help in maintaining good credit history for future requirements of any lending from banks at attractive rates.
But there is a need to look into the reality whether such balance ever comes in majority of families. There is also a need to look into legal provisions shedding responsibility on each gender all around the world.
It has been seen that in most of the homes, families having both earning members burden of home expenses like paying bills for electricity, food, travel, health and clothing are tilted more towards one member and other member enjoys freeloading in good days of life putting other member in economic jeopardy when either the separation comes or at the time of economic crisis.
In USA if a man is contributing more in a family and a woman is saving her earnings , then if there is a instance of separation for both then the contribution of men in the family wont count he has to pay mortgage for the home, alone and the woman gets to stay there and also lumpsum alimony also at the time of divorce.
In case woman is contributing more, mortgage still have to be paid by men and the assets are divided among both man and woman at the time of divorce. Looking at both scenarios woman are much safer economically if a need of divorce arise.
In India, there are several provisions or rules of law under which a right to maintenance or alimony may arise in favour of a wife—-
There are few provisions which have been codified as laws like Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 states that Hindu wife is entitled to be maintained by her husband during her lifetime. The rules of personal law applicable to persons who are not Hindus furnish examples of uncodiﬁed law recognizing the wife’s right to be maintained.
In addition to the rights mentioned in above sections court can also order maintenance or alimony as relief to woman on grant of decree of divorce or under Restitution of conjugal rights. Section 24 and Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is an example’ of a provision conferring such El right; there are analogous provisions in other’ enactments dealing with the grant of matrimonial relief in cases not governed by the Hindu Marriage Act.
There are additional provisions of maintenance relief under Section 125 for the wife. Default of 125 Cr PC order is viewed seriously by the courts and immediate proceeding in case of default are initiated against husband varying from case to case. Under section 125(4) the court can take coercive action for enforcing execution of the maintenance order. The maintenance order can be enforced in two ways by warrant of attachment wherein the assets of the petitioner are attached and amount of arrears are recovered and another way is by warrant of arrest where real jail time the husband has to suffer in case of default. After husband fails to pay any part of the maintenance amount, the court can sentence the husband to imprison for the equal number of months that he had defaulted.
In most of the Arabic countries the burden of bearing expenses of home and even individual expenses of woman is on man otherwise she has the right to leave family life. Even at the time of separation a good amount is to be given to woman until she marries again. If a man after separation faces bad credit history then his individual economic freedom has no protection either under law or society.
So, if in good times if man is contributing more to the family, at the time of separation, the economic burden of maintenance of wife is still going to be on man and the woman will get rights to stay in the matrimonial home either bought by the man or his parents. It has been observed that in most of the European countries too, the laws of the land are bent towards providing economic respite to woman only and the economic burden of separation generally has to be borne by husbands only. In India a high court recently announced in a judgement that even if a wife murders husband, she has full rights to all his assets after his death.
The laws for maintenance are biased worldwide in favor of one gender. This is due to claimed historical oppression and strong pressure groups of women rights NGOs. Another reason is the political groups fall out for women rights only, ignoring the men’s rights completely, due to economically and politically strong women right groups.
The provisions of maintenance were meant to be used for those women who were oppressed and have no means/capacity to earn. But it is well known how these laws have been misused as a tool of extortion to settle personal grudges and courts are giving interim orders for maintenance even for a healthy woman well capable to earn merely on a simple application without looking into facts. This is being used as an opportunity to sit idle and live on husband’s earnings. This also encourages even those, who are capable to earn to not work or contribute in economic developments of the country.
As per economic survey of India data more than 130 million people rose out of poverty from 1995 to 2012 but in this booming economy only 27 percent women were working or looking for a job while at the same time about 79 percent of men were working for the country’s economy directly. Direct contribution of working woman still stands much lower than men. India ranks 120 out of the 131 in labor participation rates of women. As per a report by Mckinsey, the contribution of women to India’s GDP is 18 per cent in 2018, one of the lowest in the world. It means Men are contributing to the majority of the GDP.
There is a need to work out a balancing act in laws and economics of the country for both men and women to share the economic responsibility both at family level and country level to help maintaining happy family, individual economic independence and booming economy of the country.