Is Laundry only a Woman’s Job? Dads, share the load -This advertisement portraying men taking equal responsibility for washing clothes and sharing household burden was an instant hit among people in our country. It is 21st century and still we are advertising about equality and educating our society to share the workload burden. Undoubtedly, there are changes for the good happening around us, but we need stronger, faster and relevant ones to improve the status of women in our country.
Still, women face the brunt of the situation when it comes to household chores. They clean their houses day in and day out and one study has found that women who are regularly exposed to cleaning products may face a greater impact on their lung functioning in course of time. Also, women who used sprays or other cleaning products at least once a week faced an even greater decline in lung functioning over other women.
This does not imply that we should not clean the house. How we clean, what we use to clean and how these chemicals affect us must be analyzed and answered before we clean our house.
The study included more than 6000 individuals (50% of them were women) in their mid-30s and more than 85% of the women participants declared that they were the ones primarily involved in cleaning their homes. Results showed that the total amount of air a person can exhale declined by 4.3 ml/year faster in women who cleaned at home and 7.1 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners. The researchers compared the lung function decline of these women cleaners with that of those smoking cigarettes and commented that it was similar to smoking somewhat less than 20 packs a year. Cigarette smoking too is rapidly increasing among the female population and the days are not far off where the number of women smokers would outnumber men. But the question here is whether women smoke to prove themselves equal to men or do they really find it pleasurable? Get your answers at www.firsteatright.com.
While the study results might be surprising initially, when you think about inhaling small particles from the cleaning agents that are meant to clean the floor and not your lungs, it is not so surprising after all. Lung functioning capacity declines due to irritation of these cleaning chemicals on the mucous membranes lining the airways which in due time cause ever-lasting changes in the airways.
The study also found that asthma was more prevalent in women who cleaned their homes (12.3%) or worked as cleaners (13.7%) than in women who did not clean (9.6%). As this study was continued for a period of over two decades, the results are extremely reliable. The study also showed that:
Cleaning at home, offices, kitchen, roads and other public places is still seen as a woman’s work and most workers are still women. The study is a standing evidence of the minimal number of male cleaners present in the society which raises questions about gender and work. Certain kinds of work carry certain occupational hazards and we have to come up with solutions to minimize these hazards.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.