” I have never faced this issue at all. I just face so much nonsense every day, it is so demotivating”, she said over our Skype call.  Shivani* works in higher management in the marketing department of a firm which is totally male-dominated.

It’s true that we have a come along in terms of acceptance of women in the workforce. Still, the statistics are staggering. The World Bank reports – in 2014, the labour force was only 24.2% even though women constitute half of the country’s population! There are many stories of gender inequality in the corporate world rising out of workplace circumstances, conditions under which they work and the obvious wage gap.

The World Bank reports – in 2014, the labour force was only 24.2% even though women constitute half of the country’s population!

Gender politics is the name of this game.

It’s sad to see male ego and power take centre stage at the workplace even in 2017. Shivani is not your average millennial at all. Shivani has a thriving marketing consultant business.  ” My very first brush with gender bias was the firm’s  company dinner. The director shook hands with every single employee except me! And then went on to say- you just dress pretty and sit in the office. This is not your place to be.” Ultimately she just left red-faced.

“Even though I was hired at a very senior position, emails started floating to the partners about why I didn’t deserve to be there. My peer was pissed because I didn’t address them as “Sir” ! Are we back in the stone ages ?”

To the team, her high salary was unjustified, not because she couldn’t meet targets, because a woman is not supposed to earn as much as a man.

The finance team made it clear- crystal clear.

As a senior marketing resource, her job entailed plenty of pan-India travel for campaign activations. ” There was constant bickering over my travel plans. Why does she have to travel alone? It’s not appropriate- it’s a man’s job! Work would be hampered courtesy 24/7 competition, ego wars and maniac power play shows”, Shivani adds.  Shivani wants to protect her hires against this awful scenario and wants to keep it clean.” I am so glad for my team with whom I get along so beautifully. Thankfully I don’t face any gender bias there. It’s my safe space.”

My jaw was dropped for most of our conversation, but her final answer put a smile on my face!

“I will not quit. I want to prove that I am more than my gender. I will stare them down and continue to focus on my deliverables. I have taken this up as a challenge and I am going to make it BIG. NOTHING CAN STOP ME!”

Will strong HR policies within organisations change the situation? While the larger companies have a grievance addressal system in place, smaller firms with less than 30 employees have a harder time dealing with these issues. In some cases, there is no HR team altogether to cut costs. The stereotypes need to be broken and we must all come together for the same. Let’s not sweep these under the carpet and create an #UnhappyWorkPlace!

Also Read: Law alone can’t deter sexual harassment at workplace

*Name changed upon request

Views expressed are author’s own.

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