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ohn Neulinger, a German-American psychologist known to have contributed social psychological theories in the field of leisure studies, has emphasized on the concept of perceived freedom and intrinsic motivation in is theories. One such framework proposed to understand leisure is from four constituent elements – a) choice of freedom; b) self-expression; c) social evaluation and d) experience of enjoyment which infers that leisure is a state in which the person feels free to carry out any activity without any constraint or compulsion, allows one to express one’s true self, reduces conscious monitoring of social standards and engages in activity that promotes pleasure and fun4.
Supplementing the theory, John R. Kelly (1983) adds leisure as a social space where a person develops expressivity where individuals do more than respond to norms, where in they are able to be and become themselves. He also adds that social evaluation can act as a barrier to self-expression when one looks for approval, acceptance and respect as ways to validate one’s selfhood5 .
In India and South Asia, women’s daily leisure includes extracting pleasure in obligatory works (e.g. grocery shopping, chatting while washing clothes), at work as a form of escape from routine and domestic life (e.g. working outside home, at college), in religious activities (e.g. yatra, clubs, meeting Church friends) and as self-care (e.g. dressing-up, trips to beauty parlour)6. They can be social/communal or solitary (going to kirtan or reading), active or passive (playing games or watching TV), organized or casual (holding a party or sitting), family-centred or extra-domestic (going out with family or lunch with friends) and creative or unproductive (painting or lazing under the sun).
As a function of freedom, leisure for women is often considered to be fragmented and secondary in the Indian context. The roles and responsibility upon women make it difficult for them to develop a sustained leisure interest and it is also found that their daily leisure often combine with non-leisure doings such as listening to radio while cooking or gossiping with neighbours during daily chores7. Research also suggests that many women adopt traditional roles allocated to them such as that of caregivers and homemakers and thereby may face limitations in freely experiencing leisure such as spending savings on child nutrition or travelling with children (Colley 1984; Henderson 1991; Shank 1986)8. However, even though they face a financial constraint on spending for leisure inspite of the inexpensive nature of their leisure activities, it is also largely to do with the time and space that women can afford or access.
According to Time-Use Survey (TUS) 1989-99) by Central Statistical Organization and National Sample Survey Office (1999-2000), women spend about 69.03 hours per week on total work as compared to 62.71 hours by men. Unpaid non-SNA (System of National Accounts9) work, is highly unequal between men and women. An average woman spends 28.96 hours per week on household maintenance such as cooking, cleaning, washing, care for textiles, shopping etc., whereas men spend less than an hour in a week on these activities. With regard to taking care of people, child care (physical and non-physical) takes up the maximum time followed by taking care of the sick, elderly or challenged. Men spend 2.17 percent of the total time on non-SNA work as compared to 20.61 percent by women10. This becomes a challenge for women to participate in the labour work force and get very less time for personal activities. Men spend a full-time workforce participation in SNA data while women spend 4 hours a day or less which is indicative of their domestic responsibilities. Moreover, research also suggest that lower-income
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