What actions should HR and business leaders take to curb mental harassment at work? Share your thoughts.
While men too indulge in gossiping or back-biting or office politics, theirs is a dominant gender; ours is not. Women need each other more than men do.
While men too indulge in gossiping or back-biting or office politics, theirs is a dominant gender; ours is not. Women need each other more than men do. Here’s why.
“I think you should not have spoken about women being enemies of women. You see, saying that somehow breaks our solidarity with one another. We do not want our weaknesses to get out to the world at any cost, do we?”
I didn’t say anything. My colleague tried to defend me. But, then, you cannot possibly begin arguing with a professor when you are there to collaborate with them on their Women’s Day event for revenue. I, however, did not feel the need to explain myself. I had made it a point to talk about this one ‘weakness’ women have when I was asked to be the chief speaker at the event.
I do not think women need to shy away from this fact. I shared my experiences with the people in the course of my speech and blatantly accepted that I was hurt by the way my female friends mocked me and were jealous of me when I began working. It is something I feel strongly about and do not wish to hide.
I felt overwhelmed by the way people present at the event – from teachers to students to my own colleagues – appreciated what I said. I spoke with my heart and the younger generation could relate to it, they said. Well, that is precisely why I thought it is imperative for me to talk about it.
“Please do not talk about your jobs in front of us.”
“How much are you getting paid for your internship? Nothing? Then why the hell are you doing it?”
“Don’t attend classes, Madam. After all, you are working now.”
My friend and I used to hear all these taunts far more often than I can write about here. It hurt. We were trying to make a life for ourselves; we were trying to do something to enter into the world of media and it was not easy. We had to juggle classes, assignments and exams all together and neither of us had a vehicle of our own. We depended entirely on public transport. And yet, those girls out there felt jealous of us. Or maybe somewhere deep down, they felt guilty. Because they were spending their time gossiping or bitching about our classmates or other women. Or maybe, because they thought I earned loads of money. My first salary, by the way, was Rs 6848. My friend who interned there was not paid anything. She received a certificate at the end of her internship.
I didn’t quite understand then where it was all coming from. It felt vicious, stupid and made me feel lonelier than I already was. It was a women’s college; there were girls from all over the state who came from varying socio-economic backgrounds and not all of them could speak English or even Hindi properly. We were in our final year of B.A and it was time for the ambitious ones among us to do something about our careers; at least, to begin somewhere. Life gets tougher as one grows up and the world is changing at such a fast pace that even a delay of a year in anything can incur huge losses for you. Corporate jobs, like the current one I have, give you the illusion of security. The bubble can burst anytime.
That was 5 years ago. Today, I am struggling with the same kind of insecurity and delusion I dealt with when I started out. A year’s delay in understanding the nature of the world and the impermanence of market values has put me into a place where I have ideas on what my future should be, but I need time to equip myself with the skills that are required to get there. This was something I could have done during all those leisure hours I had at work. You see, you can get back almost anything you lose – money, friendships, even opportunities at times – but you cannot get back lost time.
Not that my day job taught me nothing. However, it did not come with a seal of permanence. For most of the people out there, a woman’s career is construed as a hobby or something she indulges in before she gets married. Her career has to take a step back in the face of wifely and motherly duties. I am no one to judge women who get married before the age of 25, but I do not subscribe to the idea of her career being something secondary. When lay-offs become the order of the day, people do not think much of a woman losing her job in the cost-cutting process.
You see what I did there? I am trying to tell you where I faltered and how it landed me in a soup now. Does accepting where I went wrong make me stupid? If so, how else would I learn from it?
And that is how I ended my speech at the Women’s Day event. I pointed this fact out to the young women present there that the world they inhabit is really rocky and hard; there are many sharks looking for blood in the water (this is one line I learnt from Michael Jackson’s autobiography Moonwalk, which I put before me yesterday as a reminder to work hard; people forget how hard he worked to hone his craft). Part of it begins with realising where we are lacking; accepting that we have some made-up lacunae which we need to get rid of. You can work towards solutions only after finding out your short-comings and striving to come to terms with them.
My friend and I supported each other in our early struggling days. She works as a teacher now; it’s a far more comfortable job than she had before and she is married to a really nice guy. But, you know what? She says she still misses our days together. All that getting up in the chilly winter morning, battling the fog and going to work on foot, at times risking our safety. But, we did it. And it paid us well later. I remember how I accepted that job after she coaxed me saying it’s gonna pay me later. I remember how she would help with class notes and with studies. I once crashed at her house for the night. She’d ask me to keep my uniform at her place. (Yes, our college had a uniform!) She was always there for me, more than I was for her. We were not best friends; but the bond we shared then was more than any best friend could ever do! That is the power of female friendships.
Female colleagues conspire against you; they prefer to please a man in power over you. That’s how it works everywhere. I saw it in college and I saw it at work. I have seen my paternal grandmother misbehaving with my mother and I see countless women doing demeaning things to other women, a lot of times, behind their backs. This is not to say that men do not indulge in gossiping or back-biting or office politics. But theirs is a dominant gender, always has been; ours is not. Women need each other more than they do. And when that doesn’t happen, all the dance behind Women’s Day doesn’t really help.
I’d prefer to have no such day celebrated at all than witness its hypocrisy.
First published here.
Top image via Pixabay
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
I wanted to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting 'win' moments.
My daughter turned eight years old in January, and among the various gifts she received from friends and family was an absolutely beautiful personal journal for self-growth. A few days ago, she was exploring the pages when she found a section for writing a letter to her future self. She found this intriguing and began jotting down her thoughts animatedly.
My curiosity piqued and she could sense it immediately. She assured me that she would show me the letter soon, and lo behold, she kept her word.
I glanced at her words, expecting to see a mention of her parents in the first sentence. But, to my utter delight, the first thing she had written about was her AMBITION. Yes, the caps here are intentional because I want to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting ‘win’ moments.
Uorfi Javed has been making waves through social media, and is often the target of trolls. So who and what exactly is this intriguing young woman?
Uorfi Javed (no relation to Javed Akhtar) is a name that crops up in my news feeds every now and again. It is usually because she got trolled for being in some or other ‘daring’ outfit and then posting those images on social media. If I were asked, I would not be able to name a single other reason why she is famous. I am told that she is an actor but I would have no frankly no clue about her body of work (pun wholly unintended).
So is Urfi Javed (or Uorfi Javed as she prefers) famous only for being famous? How does she impact the cause of feminism by permitting herself to be objectified, trolled, reviled?
Please enter your email address