India is a modern country according to our laws. A forward-thinking one, a liberal one. One where women have the right to work if they want to, a right to get educated if they want to. However, does something written on paper always hold true in reality?

We have all seen mothers juggle having careers and being moms. We say they have “equal opportunity” as men. But how can that be true when our mindsets have never truly evolved?

Our schools expect our mothers to pick up calls about their children even if they are in an important board meeting. Our fathers expect that our mother will figure out what’s being made for dinner, even if they come home tired at 6 p.m. We assume our mothers will know our blood type and which vaccinations we’ve gotten, even if they have to remember their deliverable for their boss that night. We expect them to help us with school projects even if they have a job interview lined up. Is that truly equality?

True equality comes when we acknowledge a woman’s burden. If a woman’s place is in the office, it cannot also be in the kitchen, the PTMs, the sports days and the doctors waiting room. True equality is when the men in our lives understand that they need to step in at every level- not ask the woman what they need to do but take charge and do it themselves. Whether it is taking interest in children’s homework or ensuring the house has been cleaned, whether it is taking children to swim class or putting them to bed.

Mothers often claim their head hurts and they are exhausted, and we often wonder why and laugh it off thinking “moms always complaining about some ache or the other”. But the mental burden we put our women through in this country puts it all in perspective. In order for women to take advantage of all the opportunities we supposedly offer in this country, we must also change our mindsets. It is time to give women a fair shot at being free.