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In order to become the $10 trillion economy, India needs some changes. The ones that begin at home – like teaching your boys equality!
In 2018, in the Economic Times, Dominic Barton, Managing Director of McKinsey shared his views on how India could become the $10 trillion economy. He listed the challenges India faces to reach the mark in his article.
One such challenge that he mentions is gender inequality. He believes that women should participate more in the economy. In India, women contribute less than a fifth of India’s GDP.
This means women add up to just 24 percent of the workforce at present. He clearly states that India will fall short of its economic potential if woman’s participation doesn’t increase.
I appreciate his observation and his views on how India should work on this challenge. That is the reason I chose to reflect on this article.
It is a great observation and the solutions too are worth applying. But, the fundamental change that we need to see in India is at the micro-level. The mindset of every Indian woman and man needs to change, because, when a woman steps out of her house to pursue a career, it is never easy. She faces innumerable challenges.
Most women quit their career after they get married and it is not a big deal, it is perfectly okay. They either feel they need to be with their family and their husband earns enough to run the family comfortably.
A lot of women opt for higher education, complete it but, don’t pursue their careers. Also, making a career is not considered as important for girls. After marriage, it is the prerogative of the man to decide if his wife would work or not. Well, why does someone else need to decide that for her? She is an individual and she needs to speak for herself.
It’s all about the way we raise our children. Women are primarily told that they have to look after the household chores, where cooking is a major part. She is bound to the kitchen, while cooking is just optional for men. Why cannot we tell our sons that they need to move on and learn to help their mothers and sisters?
Even while a woman decides to work she knows the balancing act is difficult. She has to manage both her house and her career. Imagine the stress that she goes through.
It is just not easy to manage this herculean task without a helping hand. There are tens and thousands of things that need to be managed at home. How can she do that all by herself? She isn’t a machine or a superwoman. Here is why she either quits her career due to stress or it affects her health.
While she is sacrificing so much of her time to run the show, she needs to do it with all her love and affection. Why is she brainwashed to fit in this mould? The first culprits are our TV serials that portray an ideal woman to be a sacrificing, enduring and multi-tasking one. Why do we need to glorify this image?
Then comes her pregnancy, where she has to take maternity leave or just quit her career completely. Not all companies provide facilities and flexible timings. Even when she joins back she has to leave her child at a crèche. After she gets home, she has a ton of things to manage. Why can’t companies have a chargeable crèche at the workplace?
Yes, Indian women have traveled a long way in accepting unusual careers and rising up the corporate ladder. But, the percentage is still too low. And in rural areas, girls are still made to quit school as parents cannot afford further education. Meanwhile, the boys continue getting educated. Her education and future both are sacrificed for the sake of a male child.
It’s all about changing our perspective. Parents should begin raising their children differently. Boys should also be trained to do household chores and participate. They cannot just sit glued at their cell phones or TV screens while their sister is busy multitasking.
Boys need to be taught equality when they’re young. Or else, they will grow up to be men who only slouch on the sofas while their wife runs around taking care of the house.
If things don’t change at the micro level, the change that we seek so passionately at the macro level is hard to achieve. And if we, wish to contribute towards the growth of our country, each one of us needs to change the way we look at our girl child – her life, careers, and aspirations.
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
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Rashmi Malapur Jaswal is a blogger and content writer by
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