Housewife versus Homemaker

What’s the difference? And why is the term ‘Housewife’ so much more prevalent in official forms and questionnaires?

People might say I’m trying to be too feminist when I fill in my mother’s occupation as ‘Homemaker’ and not ‘Housewife’, but I would beg to differ. It’s not feminism that makes me do this; it’s the simple respect I have for a woman who has brought me up.

My mother is the one who makes my house a home. The fact that I have come back to a warm, loving atmosphere everyday is because Maa made it so.

Even if we look at it from the point of view of the terms used, that is ‘house’ and ‘home’, there’s a huge difference. People change houses many times in their lives. But if there’s a ‘housewife’, then does it mean that the person is changing every time you change your house? Of course not! My point is, she will go to any house and make it a home for you. And I think she deserves a huge amount of respect for that.

If every child/husband starts realising this and giving their mothers/wives the respect and love they deserve for untiringly looking after them without fail, whenever their children/spouses needed them, I think we can soon do away with the term ‘Housewife’. Once again, I have to say, there is no hardcore feminist thought here. It’s a simple matter of respect. The term ‘housewife’, according to me, reduces a woman to merely a person who maintains the house. It’s like calling your mother/wife a housekeeper. And I’m sure no one wants to do that.

What are your views on this?


8 thoughts on “Housewife versus Homemaker

  1. Sanchari, I’m all for the term homemaker. The other day I read an article on the use of gender terms in writing. Curiously, we don’t seem to see the term “househusband” being used. Not to add fuel to the feminist fire but really, why is it we always end up with the short end of the stick? A man comes home to his “little woman” but we never come home to our “little man.” Indeed, homemaker is the better term. Not only is it gender free, but it exemplifies what either a man or a woman can do to a home to make it a safe and loving environment for all who live there. Great though provoking post, lady! :)

    • So true! It’s just what the problem always has been.

      Thanks! *blush*

    • Kazi Faysal Mahmud

      Woman is considered as a Home maker in Islam and not a housewife because she is not married to a house.

      The word “Housewife” another meaning is ‘a woman who has married a house.’

      Al-Bukhaari (5971) and Muslim (2548) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

      A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said:
      “O Messenger of Allaah, who is most deserving of my good company?”
      He said: “Your mother.”
      He said: “Then who?”
      He said: “Your mother.”
      He said: “Then who?”
      He said: “Your mother.”
      He said: “Then who?”
      He said: “Then your father.”

  2. Amazing thought….a homemaker who makes the house worth living is defintely our mothers and their work is as respected as any other occupation n its not only abt the recognistion but its abt the respect a homemaker shall get for all the efforts she puts in to make that little house a home. Respect :)

  3. I think we really need to give respect to the women, who make our lives so beautiful. I think that it is derogatory to use the term ‘Housewife’ not because any ‘ism’ compels us to do so but because it indicates our ungrateful behavior for the woman who sacrifices everything for us.

    • Agreed! I also feel like that ungrateful behaviour stems from the fact that we feel that we can do something like that because we’ve been socialized to see our mother as less important in some senses, which is why this whole debate becomes a feminist issue – giving back the individual identity to a person who is a mother/wife, but also so much more than that.

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