As always I stepped out of elevator and rushed towards my bay at office, a hundred thoughts about my current project and personal life swapping its turns in my head, fighting for precedence. I was hurriedly switching on my system and my eyes fell on a single white rose lying on the keyboard. Next to it was a beautiful card wishing me “Woman’s day’, apparently from my employer. Never ever on a woman’s day have I got such a thoughtful gift, that I was feeling elated, but the feeling did not last long. Seeing me hold the card and rose, my colleague said “Why don’t we men have a day like you women have?”
My mind reeled back to the conversation I had with a fellow blogger, who had written about how some of the women in Indian B-Schools attend the placement drives, land good jobs, but when it comes to joining the jobs scoot the scene in pretext of strict parents and other reasons, thereby sabotaging the opportunities of several men and aspiring women in dire need of a job. Having seen and been part of many such incidents, I am glad he did not become a chauvinist, but rather a wounded man.
His words resonated “Why do some of the girls’ bag their career aspirations some years into the job, marry some NRI and settle abroad? Why do they deprive their classmates and colleagues (this includes aspiring career oriented women and men) of great career opportunities?
Some questions just stare at you, tease you and take the peace out of your mind, however hard you try to ignore it. So before I make an attempt at answering these, let me make a story out of it (After all I am a woman too, with a lot of imaginary powers).
While speaking about women in corporate world, we have a tendency to demarcate them into career oriented aspiring women and family oriented women. However, in very few contexts, I have seen a man been evaluated in terms of intensity of devotion towards work/family. Perhaps the fundamental flaw here is that Indian culture sees men as the breadwinner and women as the all-round caretaker who keeps the family happy. As time passed, some women went ahead to work and make a mark in the world, but it often came with a disclaimer of being a supporting aide to the male. Perhaps, even as time raced by, we women have taken the conditioning a little too seriously and stuck to the idea of being the supporter to the men as they conquer feats in career.
Then why do we study well, top exams, land jobs and even sit for the dream job, knowing very well that we may not go to work or even if we go to work, it is just going to be a job and not really a career? It is purely because of self-esteem need to prove to ourselves and also others, that we are capable of doing everything, but if need comes we can leave everything and pursue other’s dreams. The others could be anyone including parents, boyfriend, husband, siblings, colleagues, peers and children.
But, do we really need reservation for women, a special day to celebrate woman and all that? Perhaps, it would help empower lot of woman who struggle everyday for basic rights. But, speaking about all the women who are educated and employed, it is high time that we stop relating our success and failures to our being a woman. In my opinion, our fundamental mistake is that we blame all that we could not achieve on our being a woman. That is wrong, I would say. If a woman achieves or fails in something, base that purely on her capability and competence. Not because she is a woman. I have been to final round of interview for sales position, only to hear the same “You are woman, you cannot do it”. Another scenario is when I say I am getting married and people asks “So when are you quitting? ” Now that is de-motivating.
Some of the women take it as a challenge, aspire for more, and achieve work life balance as well. Then they get branded as “career oriented aspiring” class, while others believe the hearsay blindly and let others decide their destiny. Sadly, most of the women fall into the second category and we cannot blame them too. What they need is support, encouragement and gentle push at times of self-doubt. Yeah, life is never going to be a bed of roses and it will be so for both men and women. Once we all shed the baggage associated with the gender and see ourselves as contenders in this race called life, success is guaranteed.
P.S We don’t fail to get anything, because someone else achieved it for so& so reasons. It is solely because we couldn’t beat that person and they deserve it better than us. 🙂