Gender inequality is a multifaceted issue whose presence can be felt in many countries all over the world exhibiting different cultures. Its genesis goes back to centuries ago when man assumed the role of the bread earner and the woman took to the natural role of a caregiver and a homemaker. But over the years, women’s role started being taken for granted and men started believing they were superior. Women were made to live this lie for many centuries till things started changing gradually. Today, we have come very far from how things were a few decades ago. Today women are not confined within the spaces of their households and forced to sacrifice their lives for their better-halves. Today, the society has taken huge strides towards a better and more equal world for the women as compared to a few years before. However, the goal of equal gender empowerment still remains elusive and a long way to go.
Gender Discrimination at Workplace
There is no doubt that women have made humongous progress in the workforce. Women like Chanda Kochhar, Arundhati Bhattacharya, and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are living examples of the stature women have achieved today in the business world. But yet, on the other side, the goals of equal representation and equal pay are further away from reality for many of the working women today. Currently, India stands at 108th position in the Global Gender Gap Index, mainly because of less participation of women in the economy and low wages. This statistics comes as a shock when viewed keeping in mind the fact that more women are getting themselves a good education today and becoming career-oriented. So what seems to be the problem here?
The primary issue is the hiring. Many studies still indicate that supervisors recommend more salaries for a male candidate as compared to a female candidate with the same qualification appearing for the same job. Many firms also discourage or prohibit the discussion of wage with others, so many a times the female candidates are not even aware if they are being underpaid. But having said that, there are some progressive firms that are trying to change this by concentrating on gender parity in hiring and getting rid of their biases.
The second challenge that the women at workforce face today is being able to balance their work commitments as well as their households. So even when faced with opportunities to take up an aspiring role, many of them end up backing down because of self-pressure and other biases that still affect women today.
The position of women in the society is most definitely better today because of various initiatives being taken in the right direction by the government. The education and health facilities are helping women to come up and become relatively strong. Programs like ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ have tremendously helped raise women literacy rates in the country today. While the intention of the government in coming up with such schemes is praise-worthy, its execution somewhere becomes weak. While on one hand, women have finally begun to gain a foothold in the society today, the practices of female infanticide, poor health conditions, cases of sexual harassments, rapes, domestic abuse, etc. still continue to persist. Nevertheless, programs like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana’ aim to spread awareness in remote areas where female infanticide is still rampant, to save the girl child.
While “feminism” may be the new favorite word playing on everyone’s lips today but the patriarchal ideology of a woman only good enough to be a “homemaker” or “producing children” refuses to die down. Men are yet to accept the truth that stares them in the face that women were never meant to be below them. If one aspect looks promising, there are others aspects of the society that is ready to pull the women down every now and then. Till the mindset of everyone together changes for the better, gender equality may never become a reality anytime soon.
Today, the women continue to pave a path for themselves and hold their heads high despite the challenges they have to face. They are now fiercely ambitious and making the society pause and take notice of their capabilities. Women like Avani Chaturvedi are creating history at such a young age and becoming role models for the entire world. Women today are determined to prove their metal and be treated as equal participants in the present and the future that awaits. 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day. With every continued year of this celebration, let us strive together to give the women their rightful place in the society. Continue to support them and treat them with dignity for it is only then that the nation will truly progress.