India is right now in a cusp between accepting the heights its women are growing to and encouraging them to adjusting to this new change where women are not 24*7 householders. In the later situation, which was prevalent about three decades earlier and even now in many rural areas, women were confined to their homes. Being a Biologist I cannot help but point out that it all started as division of labour in the caves, but in the current era of Science and Technology women have proved themselves to be equally competent from engineering to accountancy, from home-grown business to space, women have ruled both earth and the skies. Yet the apex is far, further then the eyes can see, somewhere clouded by doubt, resistance from the set mindsets and the ever lasting problem of not being considered an equal.
Yes women are not equal to men, the way evolution has shaped them is different. They feel guilty if they do not feed their child on time, oversee their homework and spend quality time with family. Therefore women paying more attention to their homes and therefore not as productive as their male counterparts is the prevalent image. That is nothing but a myth for women are also scientifically proven to multi-task better. They are sincere and so they pave their way upwards once given an opportunity. Today a woman needs just the right environment that helps her do it all perfectly.
A Woman’s Career is Equally Important As Her Male Siblings: To talk about a solution we should first understand the problem to its core and the factors playing a role in the stark inequality between the ratio of female to male employees, increments, promotions and even hiring. Many of us pursuing higher degrees of advanced studies have found that the sex ratio suddenly falls after Masters degree where marriage becomes a priority, and still lesser after a PhD as a life in Science seems like a prospect that home maker couldn’t afford. The problem is mentality. While every planning is done to send a son to the best quality universities for fancy degrees, at any corner of the world to see the bearer of their last name, the heir somewhere greater than them is every parents dream, but very few think so for their daughters. A daughter now-a -days is educated better only so that she can be economically independent and she is lucky if she completes that level of education. However, beyond this point only a few can expand their wings of passion and fly. The most important thing we need to bring in our societies is to treat children of both sexes equally and allow them to develop a career, whichever one they want. It was Indira Gandhi that continued Nehru’s legacy after all. The next world leader might be the one currently in your kitchen.
2. Workplace Design: The west felt this transition much before us, the increasing number of working women and the need for them to work to establish a quality life. Therefore it is not surprising that they have some working models that have been successful in assuring their female employee’s performance. The most important one being “baby care centres”. The greatest phase of a woman’s life where she needs maximum support is when she just becomes a mother. Raising a child for a set of parents where each of them is a professional can be daunting. In India this is a phase where the daughter-in-law is often made to give up on the job for child raising. In the west they have centres that look after babies of working women employees and are wonderfully maintained. Such centres when near or within the workplace can help a mother keep an eye on her child, go feed them at intervals and continue working. So far only a few multinationals like Novartis in India have this facility. These facilities should be encouraged and even made compulsory to propel women’s careers.
3. Share For You Care: To my horror some of my friends quit working for they couldn’t manage chores at home after a day’s toil at work. This is the last thing that should happen and it screams of inequality and forced slavery to the core. If one marries an educated woman, one should also treat her as an equal. Understanding that she worked as hard as you toiling through the day, she earns as much as you than why should she do everything. Couples often complain about not having time for each other but helping her in the kitchen with little things can be equally romantic, may be more than all that one day show of candle light dinner. If both earn enough then hire a maid, you are increasing the nation’s employment while giving each other time and complete relaxation to get back to work in full power next day.
4. Support Other Women: This is for women to help each other. It is said that ”There is always someone who has faced worse than you”, when I read these lines for the first time and started looking at common people around me and listening to their stories I realized that they were my greatest motivators. My motivation is the story of my beautician, a woman abandoned from her husband’s house for giving birth to a female child, her being uneducated, begins from scratch and builds a beauty salon chain giving jobs to multiple women like her and making their lives better. On my darkest days I think of the black night she faced, the shade so dark of being discarded, she would have cried a lot, till the oceans of sadness and later the anger was vented out. Then as the sun rose, it wasn’t alone, a resolve was born within her and she turned nothing to a business model such that no woman faces the dark alone and helpless again. There are a million such unsung heroines in every corner of India, I am sure if you are reading this you know of a woman with a similar story. If we be the torch for each other and help each other grow there is nothing that can pull us down.
5. The Onus Is On Us: Women are demanding equality and men do not necessarily see us as one. Well even if we blame it on the patriarchal society, let us look at the mirror once more, stare at ourselves and ask, are we privileged in any way? If you want reservations in a metro or local train in each coach, you make a retire tired 80-year-old man get up, when you are in your early teens and claim that seat, you want the man to open your door, you want the man to pay the bill, well was this being an equal? I am sure you know the answer is shouting at you to change your ways to stand as an equal. If you truly believe you are one than behave as one first instead of wars on social media or fighting over comments made by someone. “Let not you but your actions speak, women”.
Also there is a great war in the world, a cold one where women are being touchy about statements being made about them , etc. I feel there isn’t a need to pay heed to it or react and just continue doing what you do best – your work and keep going, for their words and hindrances are not our destination, the universe is waiting!