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Married But Single

On the internet, there is an oxymoron called "married single woman," which is used to refer to women who are married but are left alone to play different family or household roles as if they are single. This is not a new concept among Malawian married women,who are expected to handle all housework and childcare responsibilities, even if they work full-time.

In a traditional Malawian household, a woman's expected household duties double upon marriage because she also takes over the man's entire backlog of work from his single years. Cooking, washing, and preparing children for school are a few of these chores.

Even though the former statement can be made and supported solely by observation in most Malawian homes, a study conducted by sociologists at the universities of Maryland, Texas, and Southern California establishes that married women do more domestic work than single mothers if their partner is male. The study goes on to explain that when women marry, they increase their housework in part to meet expectations about home cooked meals, clean clothes, and well-kept houses, all of which are consistent with definitions of appropriate and expected behaviors for wives and mothers.

A lot of people will argue that they don’t really see any problem with it, but as for me I am yet to meet a girl or woman who actually enjoys doing all housework by herself especially when there are people who could offer her help, in this case her husband.

I thought this harmful tradition ended with the older generation; however, it appears to be a cross-generational issue, as our grandmothers, mothers, all experienced it and now we too are about to experience it.

We are responsible for keeping it alive in the way that we are raising our children today. How can we still say that women or girls belong in the kitchen, and how can we still exclude boys from babysitting? We are teaching our children that basic household chores like cooking, cleaning or taking care of children can and should be done by one gender only.

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