Time To Create A New Legacy? What The Global Gender Gap Index Says About India

The Global Gender Gap Index paints a bleak picture. It is time we created a stronger legacy for working women in India.

Our women are achieving great things all over the world but still the Global Gender Gap Index paints a bleak picture. It is time we created a stronger legacy for working women in India. 

“Anmol, I really need to start with work!”
“Then what is stopping you?”
“Where will I work? There are no corporate houses. It’s a small city, and you know how it is in such places.”
“What happened to the website that you were developing?”
“It’s going on, but nothing major. It barely requires anytime. Plus people here do not believe in the concept of taking everything online.”
“That I agree. And what about the interior designing firm that you had applied for?”
“That man is a pervert! Plus the locality is not good. Not that I am making excuses, but you yourself won’t like it if you check out the place. I don’t think it’s safe to work there!”
“Hmm. Keeping looking then. I am sure you will come up something”

A few weeks later:
“You’re getting really handy these days Riya. What’s going on?”
“As if you don’t know what I’m referring to.”
“I don’t know what you’re referring to and I don’t know how to explain this, but it’s not in my hands at all! I like to keep myself busy and that is how I have been brought up and I have done every possible thing to keep it that way! And now, with no work at all, I am bound get cranky and it’s something beyond my control!”
“You’re saying as if I have stopped you from something!”
“Well you haven’t, but haven’t contributed anything either.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know what I mean! I am constantly looking for work, but there’s also needs to be contribution from your side. May be the timings, may be the place, may be the distance, may be the liking of your parents. Mind you, Mr. Anmol Sharma, that is not how it works when one is out there to hunt for a job!”
“OK, I get your dilemma. Totally. Why don’t you start teaching?”
“In a school you mean?”
“Anywhere. School, college, whatever suits you”
“We stay in a joint family. Your parents won’t allow me to work with those inflexible hours.”
“Then college? But it’s a small city. Not a decent crowd comes. You will get frustrated after a few days only.”
“How about a coaching institute?”
“I think you can work that out. Dig in the details and see if that works.”

Riya is now working in a reputed institute and is very happy about it. The flexibility in terms of timings enables her to give her attention to her family as well as to her hobby, which is sketching. She loves to sketch. She participates in various social activities and is now part of many creative community clubs. She has organised various events that help people bring out their passion for creative things.

Well, that’s not where it stops. She has become very popular among her friends, relatives and community members. Everyone is amazed.“She’s one lucky girl I must say, otherwise who allows so much of freedom to the woman of the house?” people say. “Well, she’s in a really good place right now.” “One must be involved in some activity or the other. Good she’s busy.” “Fortunate for her! She’s getting work.” These are the endless number of comments that people from her circle of family members and friends say.

Riya is just another girl who fought really hard to find a way for herself. Her consistency and the determination led her to where she truly belonged. But what is astonishing is the underlying unfairness in the above mentioned situations. For one, when it comes to women, where on earth does the question of allowing them to work come? Who gave men and the society this power? If one wants to work, then it’s totally that person’s prerogative, their views on the subject and how do they want go about it. Especially when it comes to women, why should there be a permission that needs to be granted for women to work? Statistics say India ranked 114th (towards the bottom of the 136 countries listed in the 2014 Global Gender Gap Index) and for women’s educational opportunity a ranking of 126 as stated in the India Gender Gap Review 2014. The complete report can be viewed here.

Why do people feel that if women are working, it’s fun and she’s lucky? We don’t think like this for men, do we? Why can’t everybody consider the question of equality? If men are working, it’s their duty and obviously they are bound to work, whereas, if a woman is working, then she’s lucky that her family is allowing it or that she is doing it to while away her time.

When it comes to women, where on earth does the question of allowing them to work come? Who gave men and the society this power? If one wants to work, then it’s totally that person’s matter.

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It’s kind of weird!

We do talk about equality that is given to them, but we barely treat them equally. These are certain things that she is expected to do and she takes it on as her duty.  With the power of societal norms and patriarchy, it gets difficult to put women’s needs first!

After delivering a baby, it’s quite obvious that a mother will stay home and take care of the baby till the time he or she has grown enough to be left at home. Why can’t men do the same thing? Can they willingly take a break from their work and be a stay-at-home dad, with consent only, and let women be the primary breadwinners? What is the problem in that? It’s a very rare thing to happen in India, but then why not?

Women are underpaid. In every sector. Not even Bollywood has spared it. The highest paid amount for an actor is somewhere around Rs. 50 crores and for the best actress in the industry the highest amount is just Rs. 11 crores! It is all about breaking the stereotypes. Men dominate every possible industry, be it music, airwaves, film, defense and the list continues. Most of the music videos are produced by men, no major movies are directed by women, no major record label is being headed by a woman. And the worst part is, they are only seen as sex objects!

To an extent, men control women’s lives and women also succumb happily to this system. Decisions as basic as what they should wear when visiting a distant relative, should they continue their friendship with their male friends, the time till which they can stay out of the house, meeting friends in the absence of their husband at an odd hour in the evening, seeking permission from men when circumstances have them to travel to various parts of the country or may be overseas, explaining the need for them to travel and with whom along with the particulars of stay and travel details, are dictated by men. Now, for once, let’s turn the tables, and keep men in place of women and then think of these circumstances. I don’t think any men would need to give a justification to anybody in the house even if he wants to grab a pint of beer with his friends at 11.30 pm. Or if it’s about his work, God knows, how many secret Bangkok trips have been planned in the name of making hard earned money, which the wife prodigally spends and has absolutely no idea how is he making the money, err, how is he languishing the money! And yes, it is a business trip. We mustn’t question them!

Women are underpaid. In every sector. Not even Bollywood has spared it. The highest paid amount for an actor is somewhere around 50 crores and for the best actress in the industry the highest amount is just 11 crores!

Sometimes, women have no idea what the men do in these trips abroad. She misses her husband and in no time, in one of the casual meetings with her girlfriends she discovered truths behind the business trips or must I say, the pleasure trips. On confronting and threatening that she will complain about it to his parents, the husband plays the ’emotional card.’

No woman wants to be treated specially. All she wants is to be treated equally. Be it the queues or the seating arrangements or the reservation in anything. Be it about sharing the bill, or lifting a heavy thing (an extra hand will do no harm, but completely boycotting is not done). Indeed, men are physically stronger than women, but who knows, giving them proper training might do wonders! Also, sharing the business details and seeking for ideas and insights and sharing the parenting duties equally are some of the areas in which we need to be given equal opportunities!

Give us what you give men, without any special benefits. I’m not saying treat women like men. The point is treat them equal, with equal rights, that’s it! I think men understand the difference between the two terms, specially and equally! I mean, treating them specially only for having a vagina instead of a penis is quite ridiculous, don’t you think?

Image via Shutterstock.


About the Author

Geetika Gupta

Teacher by profession, child at heart. Blogger. Dreamer. Free spirited. Compassionate. Mystical. Music Lover. Die hard Romantic! Love to voice out what's inside and give wings of freedom to my opinions. read more...

4 Posts | 8,805 Views

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