Women’s Workforce can Contribute Hugely! Provided a Level Playing Field Exists!

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  • This must be agonizing and irritating in the same vein to keep reading about the done death topics like gender equality in this age and time. Despite boasting of tremendous progress achieved in every walk of life courtesy of dynamically evolving technology-driven initiatives, the prevailing odds stacked against women are bound to cause concerns for the way society continues to treat them. It is not only something unfathomable but also defies logic by some distance. Of course, palpable changes vis-à-vis gender conduct are visible everywhere owing to relentless campaigns undertaken by stakeholders highlighting the virtues of gender parity, unbiased treatment, equality, level playing field, and most importantly, extending due respect.

PC: Freepik

  • Nonetheless, misogyny and the patriarchal mindset so widely prevalent in society continue unabated as well. Moreso, in the context of Indian society, the superior treatment accorded to men triumphs in every sphere of life.  Of course, the pandemic did throw open the gates to question some of the most conventional practices of male chauvinism dominating the country’s landscape, especially the urban landscape.  The forced work-from-home regimen for the majority of the working force in line with the necessity of the times did bring to the fore the skewed priorities heavily loaded against the womenfolk.
  • Yes, we all know how women, more specifically career-oriented women, have to sail in two different boats managing professional as well as domestic responsibilities with aplomb. There is no respite from the back-breaking endeavours, you see.  Moreover, the responsibilities of raising children too squarely fall on women more than men in our society adding a layer of onus to the already filled-to-the-brim chores.  Millions of working mothers would relate how challenging the situation will be traversing along meeting expectations.  No easy task.  In an ideal world, men too should be extending every possible support, assistance, and help in sharing at least household chores to provide breathing space to women slogging day and night.

PC: MARGUERITE WARD

  • But the world is not ideal, even though concerted efforts are underway to address the matter by the authorities. While speaking of Nari shakti in the workforce and Vision 2047, PM Modi advocated flexible, work-from-home options to boost women’s labour force participation.  Oxfam estimated GDP would be higher by 43% if Indian women had the same work participation rates as men.  There are many reasons for declining participation, from higher education and rising aspirations to simply fewer jobs to go around.  Yes, the PM’s point about flexibility is critical.  Note that women are usually time-poor and forced to work a double shift of housework and care responsibilities.  Being handcuffed to a physical workplace is often the reason women are forced to drop out or choose a softer, less rewarding track.
  • Moreover, remote work tends to stall promotion and career advancement for women.  Remember, home is not exclusively a woman’s domain, and any real solution must involve men contributing equally to care and indulging in household work, including childcare.  Thus, too much talk and less action on the ground would defeat the very purpose of women’s empowerment.  Altering constricted mindset by opening up to realistic scenarios would go a long way in altering the situation.