Go Purple - Support Gender Equality

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2312 , Published on 24 December 2014

Gender inequality is not a women’s issue. It is a human issue. It affects us all. Kofi Anan rightly said – “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

In this male dominated society, women have been toiling hard to establish their identity and thus a struggle between Pink and Blue? But my vote goes to purple. It stands for “Empowerment”. Power created by the complimentary skill set of men and women.

Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, nongpimmy

“Women empowerment”, “women upliftment”, “Help women”, etc.....seem to be the buzz words these days in corporate corridors. In fact, the pink gender seems to be getting its long overdue recognition in the corporate circles. There are innumerable programs, initiatives and incentives announced here, there and everywhere to ensure that women get their due in their personal and professional life. Prime Minister’s – “Beti bachao, Beti Padhao” is a classic example of the same. “Pink is the new blue” explains the current scenario perfectly.

In the light of all this, there are certain under currents which are felt but not yet vocalized. And if this snowballs, this time again the victim would be women and no one else. History is repeating itself. Interestingly, the current condition of women versus men is not much different from the condition of general castes versus other (SC/ST/OBC/Tribal) castes during post independence era. Backward castes suffered due to lack of opportunities given and struggled to carve their identity due to the stereotyping of their castes with the professions.

So the messiah of SC/ST/OBC category, Dr. BR Ambedkar announced certain time bound programs to given equal footing to them in society. He had said during a debate in parliament on the question of efficiency of governance by the system of reservation that "A representative government is better than an efficient government. In a country like India where power, wealth and opportunities are the monopoly of microscopically small and scandalously over privileged community, reservation is the only panacea.”

Are we treading the same path for women today? Do we endorse reservation in university seats, govt. / private sector jobs, parliament seats etc for women? If yes, then I pity women. Reservation based on caste still creates a furore in educational institutes, govt. Sector jobs etc and debate on merit versus reservation continues.

Are women mentally / physically challenged? Do they not possess talent? Do we need to be bragging about Pink Revolution all the time? What will all this lead to – dirty and disastrous power struggle between men and women.

Hence let us forget Pink, forgive blue and adopt Purple. Purple is shade for “Empowerment” and this comes from complimentary skill set and intricate support system in society. Purple is the result of equal pink and equal blue meaning Gender equality. We hear many times that respect women. Funny, because respect is not gender specific. So let us respect people. Women’s emotional quotient and men’s intellectual quotient together can help create inspiring work space and blissful personal space. In this cut throat competition, Dr. Ambedkar’s views about representation edging over efficiency may not hold true.

I totally endorse the fact that women are underrepresented in professional space and their contribution on domestic front also goes unrecognized and unrewarded. Of the top 100 companies listed on Bombay stock exchange, barely 120 women or 1% are part of their Directorships. Only 36% of the total labour force in the country is women. So the panacea is not reservation or representation but “change in attitude”.

Women need to help themselves by allowing their daughters / daughters in law to pursue higher studies and encourage them to pursue their career. The mothers (in India) should give professional degrees in place of ornaments during wedding i.e., they should not stop their higher studies worrying about cost or saving for wedding, instead treat it like investing in “Future deposits”.

Women need to start respecting themselves, give chance to their dreams and stop getting portrayed as object for fun or sympathy (as is evident from the television soaps and commercials). They have the reins (of future) in their hands since they are the creators (mothers). They need to consciously inspire the future generations in order to change the current scenario.

Often it is noticed that women are considered to be the second choice at home or in office for any critical work due to their perceived image of being vulnerable and weak. And the paradox is that it is women today who have proven their multi tasking and managerial skills by managing both the worlds – personal and professional. So they definitely deserve respect and recognition to keep their morale high. Men must be sensitized that they may get success today in blocking a few women to climb the ladder but will they do the same if their daughter / daughters in law are in question?

If all the above happen, this hype around Pink revolution will end. Men and women at work place need not be divided or treated as two different classes of people where one class is snatching away the rights of the other. They need to be sensitized about each other’s strengths and work as cohesive teams. They are like parallel tracks of rail lines, useful only if both are present or else the train (read organizational performance or domestic bliss) gets derailed.

If insecurity creeps in, among men, they would obstruct women moving to important decision making positions. They can do so since women are very few in number, hence may not survive the corporate politics. Remember corporate space is not about the gender competition but skill collaboration. So instead of praying – “may the best gender win”, let us try to ensure that “Collaboration prevails”. Collaborative not competitive environment is the need of the hour. So all the men and women out there – Go Purple !!






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