It is a myth that serious subjects cannot be dealt with a witty undertone, and I believe humor brings a fresh perspective to the gravity of the subject. And I think given an opportunity, I will always wear the lighter hat to enlighten the darker side of the story. Let me start with asking a lighter question.
Who is part of whom?
Little tangential but creative solutions emerge only out of lateral thinking…is man part of woman or the vice-versa. It sounds bit silly that how can one be part of the other, but there is a case. Metaphorically I have proof; the designated words in the English language itself have embedded the hypothesis to the quintessential question.
He is part of She. Male is part of Female. Man is part of Woman…and right from the human inception it is true, Adam was part of Madam. So, how can it be that man dominates the woman in the work place? When on a lighter note the man is just a part of woman in the vocabulary used in our common conversations. Nevertheless, it needs a serious change.
Create a culture not to curdle…
It is indeed little cliché to continue asking the question though very pertinent, why this question of enabling “women equality and empowerment in workplace” at all, when gender inequality is deeply embedded in our culture and that evidently reflects in every sphere of our daily engagement…work place is no pious place when it is rampantly prevalent in our home. It is ambiguous for any man to lead two different personalities…one at home and the other at office, it can only be provisionally managed but eventually it gets grossly exposed.
Any change in the workplace has to have its beginning back home.
If I respect woman in my home and if that’s how my grooming has been and that is in the ethos of my family, the same will be voluntarily reflected in the workplace. Here, I am talking of the norm not the exception where some man demonstrates different attitude towards women outside home and they carry it in the workplace out of counterfeit pride or unwarranted ego or suppressed frustration, they are just exceptions, and we have enough law to take care of these drifted elements in our society.
No solution on ‘gender inequality’ can be designed keeping the exceptions in mind, but laws are enacted keeping the exceptions in mind…only a small percentage of people commit crime and criminal laws are for that small section of the people who goes haywire in their thought process and action. Let’s focus on the norm.
The power to question the pre-judged assumptions…
Are we assuming that a women leader can change the perspective of the organization she is heading, and the organization can better empower and engage with women…if so it may be a fallacy? On the other hand we are judging that man as a leader doesn’t encourage or create an atmosphere for fostering gender equality…if so we may be making a pre-judgment.
Though there are widespread data collated and critically analyzed to prove that gender inequality is acutely entrenched in our workplaces. So, it would be erroneous on my part to argue against the testimony of data, but data has its limitation, it cannot reveal it all, it needs a proper eye for contextualization and relevant interpretation of the situations. Hence, I have consciously decided not to present any empirical data in this proposition. We can always play with data and emphasize our elucidation rather than analyzing the context to interpret the content in a meaningfully manner.
The context behind the text…
I have been a Business Consultant and an IT Entrepreneur for more than a decade and have worked with hundreds of organizations and institutions getting an outside-inside view (not just a ring side view) of the way it functions. As an outsider getting an inside view of the organization is always different, you get to see so many facets that are either hideously overlooked or surreptitiously concealed to the outside world.
I won’t be doing justice to this topic unless I share some of my own experiences which have changed the way organizations function and the way I look at the aspect of “gender diversity” if we may like to, say so, that it is a problem…it is not a problem per se, the problem is in our attitude and the perception, and in our inability and in our skewed approach. This equally applies to both the gender, and there is no gender inequality in this human equation…I believe that both men and the women are equally responsible as the problem still exists in 21st century.
Anything we resist, it persists…
I have often heard conversations which are both positive and negative, though the degree differs but both have occupied their respective space in the organization’s discourse vocabulary. Negatives can be eliminated and positives can be elevated. It is in the mind and the setting of our psychology (the behaviors affecting in a given context) has to alter to change our mindset…both the man and the woman have to change; I won’t contest the argument if it is suggested that the man has to change more than the woman. However, some part of the conversations that I have heard has to change and other part has to continue…
Stereotype Conversations: Negative
- I don’t think a woman can do justice to that role, it requires lot of traveling.
- It is better to hire a male candidate, as it may require late stay in the office.
- I cannot work under a lady boss; it is against my pride and personality.
- I am against hiring marriageable girl because after marriage their priority changes.
- We had a tough time to manage her task when she went for a maternity leave.
Archetype Conversations: Positive
- I think for HR we should only hire a lady candidate she can do justice to the role.
- We need more women employee they will bring more discipline in our organization.
- Let’s take female candidates for the client relationship they will exude more compassion.
- After the lady boss taken over that division, the business has significantly grown.
- I have observed women’s productivity has been more than men in my department.
What woman should be doing?
- Belief for Relief – Belief in self, I have seen many women very confident when at home and with friends it is very thick but the moment they are in office the self-belief suddenly dwindles and it disappears into thin air. Self-Belief is what can make the woman change the way man judge them, confidence matters and in these cases it makes all the difference.
- Challenge the Inequity: Throw challenges on self rather than allowing man to throw challenges on them and then trying to prove a brownie point; this is what I have heard in the corridors of male group chat, women should set the terms of reference rather than being a reference for unequivocal victimization.
- Basic Instincts: Instincts and intuition is what matters in taking critical decisions and I have observed how decisions based on instinct and intuitions have significantly benefited organizations, and there may not be a rational answer to it. Women have basic instincts and strong intuitions; they should use it generously and without fear.
What man shouldn’t be doing?
- Housing Complex: We have heard of physical housing complexes, but there are these mental complexes where man shouldn’t be visiting or staying. He should immediately cease to house himself in either ‘inferiority complex’ or ‘superiority complex’ and both create problem of plenty in building wrong perceptions and bad practice of gender inequalities.
- Home Work: He shouldn’t start looking at women differently the moment he steps out of his house where he has his mother, wife, sister and daughter. He doesn’t undermine the ‘woman’s power’ at home that provides the power to come out and work without bothering about the work back home. They take care back home and we should take care of them outside home.
- Stop to Start: He should stop showing sympathy to woman and start showing empathy towards woman, it is notion carried by most man that there is no difference between these two words of ‘sympathy’ and ‘empathy’ but there is a subtle difference and it makes a big difference. It is the empathy that engages and sympathy disengages the conversations with them.
The digital empowerment…
In 21st century, the biggest equalizer has been the impact of technology on our lives. Information Technology is changing the way we work, when we work, with whom we work and where we work….fostering ‘gender diversity’. Today, woman can work from home and work anytime and work with anybody without facing the proverbial ‘glass ceilings’ in the physical setup of an organization…virtual world is breaking the real world barriers.
The evolution of digital technology is disrupting the inequality and revolutionizing the working relationship between man and woman, enriching the otherwise fractured engagement for enabling woman to achieve leadership positions.
The outlook not the look…
The financial freedom. It is coming with technology that is m-powering woman to design their own destiny and discard the old order that was deciding their fate…now or never, they are more confident, they are vocal, they are assertive and they are ambitious, they have shed the age-old fear that was dragging them and the factors that was discriminating them.
Not any more, their looks which use to decide their career growth is subsided to their outlook. Social Media is the driving force behind the profound change in their outlook…gender discrimination is termed anti-social and anybody dares to do, can do at their own peril of getting instantly exposed and expunged in the social platform.
The paradox in the bridge…
As the irony of life we have to sit down and discover where we stand, similarly the paradox that is emerging in this space is that the digital divide has the potential to bridge the gender inequality and can empower woman to occupy leadership positions by providing that space which is unfairly male dominated and squarely to be blamed on man’s mindset.
I believe in M-power not just empowerment, both the ‘M’ i.e. mind and matter, it does matter if we change our mindset, and stop to think it as a problem ‘gender inequality’ and start thinking on solutions of ‘gender diversity’…these wow factors to change the man’s mindsets.
To get there, TOGETHER we can “Break the barriers & Make a difference…”