What’s your expectation for a working mum?

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By Goldie Ko, Business Development Director

In Asia, women stay home to take care of the house and family, while men are the breadwinners, is this still true in the modern society?

I became a working mum last year and experienced the strongest gender bias period of my life. Society is expecting me to spend more time with my infant child; my clients/partners at work are surprised that I return to work before my child starts school and my friends were persuading me to be a full-time mum while it seems like everyone is also expecting my husband to earn more to support the family.

Mothers are the main caretakers of their young infants while fathers should be out and to get the best resources for the family, this concept has been inbuilt in a lot of people’s mindsets especially in Eastern countries. Women are expected to give up their freedom in life to raise the kids for the better good of the whole family. A lot of bright and smart women were asked to leave their job and became a full-time mum after they gave birth to a new life.

One of my best friends gave birth to twins last year and due to the heavy burden in taking care of two infants, her family thinks she should stay home all time for the twins while her company thinks the twins consumed too much of her energy and she might not be as productive as before. She has no choice but to give up her job that she loves and stay home to take care of the babies. 

I have another family friend who moved to China recently and the man in the family does not speak Chinese, so he stays home and takes care of the children. While the family is happy with this arrangement, the kids’ school, the woman’s workplace and some new friends they met in China all see it as a non-common and somehow “weird” arrangement as it doesn’t fit in the normal “happy family” picture.

Would it be different for the two families if the society had no gender bias? I hope the society does not have a “defined scope of work” for both men and women in a family, all responsibilities should be shared equally between genders, and both genders should be able to pursue the lifestyle they want to have without any discrimination placed on them just because of their gender.