Women all over Twitter are applauding. At least he acknowledged our problems. And the men are fuming. We too have our share of troubles in corporate life and our paths are not smooth as the visual shows. The venerable Mr Mahindra has taken a step. Indeed. However, I am interested to know what is next for the men in power?

(Anand Mahindra’s Tweet used a Whatsapp forward image, he tweets calling it the Whatsapp Wonderbox)

Acknowledgement of a problem is not good enough. Corporate India and corporates in other parts of the world as well, need to do beyond debating and acknowledging the problems and hurdles we women face in our careers.

Ever since the idea of meritocracy was born, different nations and governments have worked with and around this concept in a multitude of ways.

Acknowledgement of a problem is not good enough. Corporate India and corporates in other parts of the world as well, need to do beyond debating and acknowledging the problems and hurdles we women face in our careers.

India women household chores
Picture Credit: Telegraph UK

Coined by the UK sociologist Michael Young in 1958 book, ‘The Rise Of Meritocracy.’ the word means accordance of power of governance to people on the basis of merit. The idea existed from ancient times but in modern times, layers and testing methods were added to the concept; like competitive exams to qualify for a position or plural votes to certain educated classes or in recent times, polishing skills through training and therefore qualifying for the job by virtue of not just inherent merit or past success but by giving certain performers the leg up.

Women are automatically expected to take on the duty of home management and the onus of childcare

Circling back to Mr Mahindra’s evocative tweet, I did find it a tad insulting when a woman’s challenges in success at workplace are restricted to household chores. Women’s problems in the context of corporate success are not household chores; they do not require lady parts to be done. It is a mindset problem of both men and women; women are automatically expected to take on the duty of home management and the onus of childcare and we do acknowledge that our work day is riddled with moments of multi-tasking when we are thinking about how the next hot meal will come on the table, timely vaccinations of our children, completion of homework, replenishment of essentials and sundry other concerns of the household.

Women’s problems in the context of corporate success are not household chores; they do not require lady parts to be done.

However, every corporate top brass needs to recognise the inherent problems of corporate system as well; like gender pay and opportunity gap, power play and lack of women role models– how many top CEOs on curated lists are women?

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I wonder whether first right of refusal of a new opportunity is fairly accorded to women at all or whether they come as second or third choice when there is no other option left.

I wonder whether we women are even asked what we want to do or whether opportunities and responsibilities are thrust upon us without prior discussion of the terms of future growth. Are all women in corporate shown the future story of their career or do we happen to get by year on year by virtue of the situation and I do not deny, merit as well.
I wonder whether our work environment is safe enough, whether we are awarded the top jobs on the basis of our street cred or there are other factors that automatically come into the picture like husband’s job location, marital status, future maternity factor and child or geriatric care responsibilities.

I wonder whether we women are even asked what we want to do or whether opportunities and responsibilities are thrust upon us without prior discussion of the terms of future growth.

I wonder when we will truly break free of these shackles that stall our progress and whether men and women in power are going to do something about it after the acknowledgement of the problem has been done and dusted with.
I repeat, acknowledgement is not good enough.

Riti Prasad is the author of Double Trouble, Double Fun!: A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins, Wicked Temptations and Mathematics Fun, Fact and Fiction. She works in the Fragrance Industry as Creation Head. The views expressed are the author’s own.

 

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