During one of my many surfing frenzies, I came across a piece of information that made me pen down some thoughts and write this blog. Economic survey for 2012 acknowledged that the entry level, gender ratio at almost every MNC in India is 50-50. Unfortunately, the ratio of women dips considerably as this survey is conducted in the 5-7 years experience profile. This made me ponder…. Why?
Do women lack perseverance, or are they less motivated to perform than their male counterparts? If I remember correctly, the same year in March, a news headline in the TOI read, “Girls score higher than boys in board exams”. The article claimed that it had been a continual trend for a few years. So where is the irony of this situation arising from? Brooding over this stemming attrition, my first thought was to remember all the reasons as to why we women are driven towards our workplace. In spite of an array of odds; health, menopausal stress, house work – official work equilibrium, balancing spouse relation, devoting time at home (popularly referred as ‘family time’), some women still manage to keep their sanity, thrive and strive at work.
On being questioned, my current boss said, after her ten month break during pregnancy, she was ecstatic to join work again. When I asked her how did she prioritize her responsibilities, her adept reply was that her daughter was undoubtedly her priority, but the adrenaline rush of intellectual challenges at work dragged her back to the office desk. Of course she had to work her way out by ‘work from home’ and timeline flexibility strategies. Indisputably, it was a tough choice, but the outcome was a woman who evidently doesn’t regret her decision today, working as a reputed General Manager at GSK and also playing the role of a lovely mother and a home maker. At one end, it could be the intellectual stimulation that drives a woman to her workplace, but many a times there are pragmatic reasons as well. In today’s world of high EMI’s and costly brands, there are women who need to ‘give a hand’ in the family budget. Plus, the joy of having financial independence and making monetary decisions for the family is a motivation for most women.
Strangely, the ability to exercise power in the workplace is also a motivating factor for many. My boss at BNP Paribas (previous job) had that sheer glint in her eye, expounding about how many people reported to her, rather than her pay cheque and her job role. Yes, definitely, for some women, just like men, the power and prestige associated with a job is a definite impetuous. For a woman, power and position could be of huge benefit, especially while getting her through family and social circles. This thought led me to another stimuli cause, “Creating an impact”. Yes, women too desire to create an impact, have a meaningful existence, and work relentlessly towards it. Apart from every other role a woman plays; a daughter, a daughter in law, a wife, a mother, a sister etc., women too want to make a distinct mark in the eyes of family and society at large. Today, many women do wish to feel something beyond, by stepping out and making a niche for themselves at home and hearth.
The fact is, that many of us, wish to have discussions beyond our dresses, next holiday or kitty party. And workplace provides a place of intelligent conversations and a good circle. A good camaraderie makes the workplace and the work attractive! Certainly there are other ‘perks’ too associated with a job; such as the admin department taking care of phone billing, travel planning, or the sheer pleasure of flashing a visiting card at various places. My article, doesn’t mean that credence given to all those beautiful home makers should be allayed; I only wish to point out that the woman to man ratio in an organizational hierarchy that falls, is a sad situation.
In my article I wish to remember all reasons, as to why I would want to go to my workplace, and continue going there in spite of all odds. Let’s celebrate the reasons that push us to do better in life and bring about a feeling of gender equality.
By Medha Mukherjee
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