Certainly things have changed for women in the last decade. However, the question remains, has it changed for all women across the country and across all social economic and cultural divides?
Let’s accept that what we see chiefly are the dramatic changes that have taken place primarily in the organised and corporate workforce. At the other end of the spectrum, which could be rural , disorganised and semi- literate, the reality and pace of change, let alone equality, is indeed very different. However different the status is across the spectrum, the fact remains that significant changes have occurred for the better, and these are impelled primarily by education and a better legal framework. Women oriented laws and access to education are the big game- changer
Yes, it seems somewhat ungracious when there is so much focus on gender diversity, leadership, mentoring and advancement in the corporate world to constantly bemoan what is not rather than what is. But the fact remains that we still have a long way to go and a great deal has to be achieved for true leveraging of the genders at the workplace. Surely there’s no harm in having a mission and long term dream/vision while still appreciating the significant milestones that have been achieved?
Where the situation gets more unclear is in the unorganised sector, where the iniquities, hardship and lack of resolution is still extremely high. The good news is that the government and related women-focused organisations are working on addressing the obvious gaps, and ensuring less inequities and less hardship for the women workforce. You may notice that I am referring to removing iniquities rather than offering a better deal or advantages for women. There is so much already wrong in the sphere of fair wages, fair working conditions and concern and respect for the working woman in the unorganised sector that addressing only these issues becomes more important than creating capacity, adding value and moving up in the workforce scale. In addition, the speed and energy that one would like to see here leaves much to be desired and needs more legislative and bureaucratic intervention.
The reason I belabour this is because while we are celebrating the wonderful world we live in as working people and celebrating all the good things we have and will continue to have, although there remains a lot more to do, for the women in the unorganised sector there seems no choice but to leapfrog if they need to progress.
The writer is Managing Partner Multiversal Advisory and Women’s Leadership Champion
From trainee constable to kabaddi star
A trainee constable with the Doddaballapura police station, 29- year old Usha Rani has pursued her dreams despite the tremendous odds stacked against her to come out a winner.
Once she spent time stringing flowers to help her mother earn a living, but with grit and determination, changed her life. Not only did she join the police department but also by pursuing her passion for kabaddi, brought laurels to India at the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta, where Team India that Rani was part of, won a silver medal in the sport.
“I always imagined playing for the country whenever I watched the Indian kabaddi team in the circular pitch and often discussed the sport with my father, Narasimha and mother, Putamma while stringing flowers for a living,” she recounts.
Encouraged by her family to practice kabbadi daily at the Mata Sports Club, she found that it landed her a police job in 2007 and later a gold and silver medal in the game.
“I was encouraged to play the sport as my father was a kabaddi player and my mother, an athlete and a shot-put player. My mother could not pursue her dream due to an ankle injury when she was in class 9 , but saw a future for me in the game,” she smiles.
Be demanding and things will fall in line, says Mayor Gangambike
Mayor Gangambike, who is at the helm of affairs in the city, says whichever field a woman enters, she tries to deliver her best and take it to the next level. While women have been given opportunities in politics, they need to use them properly, in her view.
“In our Congress party, women are given equal importance and our senior leaders give us a chance to prove ourselves. Once we do that there is nothing to stop our progress. I proved myself as a corporator by constantly badgering officials to get the necessary work done. If I had cribbed thinking whether the officials would listen to a woman or not, I would not have become a successful corporator. The world is such that only if you are demanding and commanding can you expect things to fall in line,” she said.
Women may have emerged from their shells due to reservation, but they had gone on to carve a niche for themselves in society and could not be ignored in any field, the mayor asserted....