Suffrage may have been achieved a century ago, and the right to work about 60 years ago, but that has not placed a damper on the age-old stereotype casting women into the realms of domesticity for life.
Formidable feminist ancestors such as Betty Friedan, Simone de Beauvoir, Savitribai Phule, Sarojini Naidu, and many other powerful women fought for their successor’s rights to equal opportunity and equality.
India may have a law against monetary discrimination based on gender, but that hasn’t stopped evidence of discrimination from being blatantly obvious.
Statistical Evidence: The Condition of Female Earning and Freedom
A study conducted by the National Sample Survey Office showed that women currently earn 28% less than their male counterparts in the corporate industry. Given that this is the 21st century, it’s appalling that in the 75th year of independence, women still aren’t treated as equals.
The World Inequality Report of 2022 reported an overwhelming majority of 82% of the labor income brought in by men, while women brought in 18%. The COVID-19 pandemic furthered this pay gap, as women were designed to domesticate even more than before, while the men stealthily stepped out to make a living for their families.
Women may have begun to create a place for themselves in the workplace, but they are still restricted to positions that do not extend higher to leadership. While it may differ depending upon the industry, in general, women face a more significant obstacle, which no man will ever face: society’s domesticity imposition.
A Socially Gilded Cage: Acceptance for Silence
For centuries, women have been confined to the walls of their homes, churning out comfortable home lives for their families. Social institutions still consider women as the breadmakers.
A young woman who is dedicated to her job would frequently receive remarks from her family regarding marriage, and should she decline to pursue a career, some choice terms are reserved for her in the workplace- ‘high strung’, ‘cold’, and many others.
A man who is dedicated to his job and doesn’t think about marriage is committed; a woman who is dedicated to her job would be questioned at every step. If a woman was about to get married and think about having a family, executives would think twice before giving her a promotion, fearing she may choose her family over the job, and as such, her career stagnates, and she eventually transitions into a homemaker.
Labels make or break people in the corporate world, and they are harsher and colder on women trying to carve out their roles as leaders.
We Need to Do Better
Obstacles like these make it difficult for women to hold down a job, let alone gain professional mobility. Powerful women such as Indra Nooyi, Leena Nair, Falguni Nayar, and many others inspire young girls to be themselves and work for their futures.
But futures like these are paved with problems because of their gender. It is up to the leaders of today to shed these stereotypes, and discriminatory and inflammatory practices, work to create a more equal world for everyone, and uplift those who are not as fortunate.
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