There is a plethora of issues plaguing women in India. On the occasion of Women’s Day, I asked 4 women their views on 4 pressing issues. Here are their views -
Q. IIM Kozhikode just announced it will reserve 60 seats for women from next year. What is your view on reservation for women in higher studies?
Respondent – Mehak Khurana;
IIM Kozhikode PGP 2018-20,
Executive Member of the Calicut Marathon Committee, a National swimmer, loves to cook, travel, explore and eat.
"Well, I am not really happy with the news because I believe that reservation dilutes the quality of the candidates. When the cut-off declared is 98%tile+ to get interview calls from top 5 IIMs and girls are getting admission at 80ish percentile, the whole purpose of CAT is ruined. It is highly unfair to the rest of the aspirants. It will also impact the peer to peer learning throughout the course. I agree that not every girl is privileged to pursue higher studies like we are but policies should be made to help them at the grassroots level. They should be made capable enough to compete with 3 lakh students and clear the rigorous CAT process to enter IIMs. Reserving 60 seats in IIMK will not help women of India in any way.
It is more like a good headline for the college, nothing else."
Q. The issue of equal wages for men and women has been making headlines for some time. How important is equal pay for men and women, according to you?
Respondent – Ashi Jain;
Currently working as a Content Creator for My Halla Blog. She is an ardent Strategic Marketing and Communication enthusiast. She is particularly intrigued by Literature and Human Psychology. A cup of coffee and some scribbling is what keeps her going!
“India maintains a stable ranking of 108 out of the 149 countries in the year 2018, but its gap is directionally larger this year, with a 33% gap yet to be bridged,” says a report, titled Measuring the Global Gender Gap (Page 35).
This underscores an important point about how vexed is the issue of gender gap pay in a country which is the sixth largest economy of the world. The issue, however, is not limited to India and is a global phenomenon.
Let us analyse further and understand how the issue is of strategic importance.
- Streamlining of Labour Laws: The labour laws in India are considered erratic. Hence, the issue of gender gap needs to be addressed on multiple fronts, as it will lead to better streamlining of labour laws and facilitate the women task force.
- Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women account for less than a quarter (24%) at the top management positions globally. In India, the figure is even more dismal as the country ranks third lowest in having women in leadership roles with only 7% of the senior management (CEO/ Managing Director) roles being held by women in India. The concept of equal pay will help in breaking this glass ceiling.
- Reformation in Maternal Laws: Equal pay also points to the maternal laws – Organizations should adopt the policy of parental leave instead of maternal leave as it will allow women to reintegrate in the task force after childbearing while making room for men to take the process of responsibility of parenthood which will lead to societal changes.
- Better Working Conditions: Equal pay will challenge the patriarchal attitude that prevails in the society and will lead to lesser discrimination and hence, lead to the enhancement of working conditions.
- The Concept of Welfare State: The act of paying a lesser wage to one segment for the same functional responsibility goes against the Right to Equality mandated by Article 14 of our Constitution. The concept of equal pay would lead to the concept of the welfare state.
The issue of the gender pay gap is gaining momentum but slowly and erratically. The recent Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum also points to the fact that countries with better gender-equality have faster growing, more competitive economies."
Q. We have seen that rules are much stricter for girls staying in hostels. Have you faced any difficulties?
Respondent – Akriti Sirsalewala;
Achieved a top 200 rank in CLAT 2016; Current student of NUJS, Kolkata.
"Yes, there are definitely issues that one faces in a hostel simply by virtue of being a girl. The hygiene in the common bathrooms in the hostel can get particularly problematic when girls are menstruating, leaving them susceptible to UTIs. Moreover, safety becomes a concern even within the hostel when a male carpenter/electrician or other helping staff is servicing another student. Their visiting or upkeep schedule is never stuck to and the solution is putting a draconian burden on the residents of the female hostel to always be on the look-out. The alternative is to make do with minimal infrastructure but the necessity of access in certain situations ensures that a safe space can't be created and the magnitude of the problem is belittled."
Q. You worked for 3 years at a top CA firm. Do you think you were ever treated differently because you were a woman?
Respondent - Arpika Agarwal;
A freshly brewed Chartered Accountant, who is looking forward to pursuing a career in Business Management and Finance from one of the top B-Schools of the country.
"Well, not really! In a society where gender discrimination is prevalent, I've been fortunate enough to be a part of a firm where people were recognized on the basis of their unique strengths, and not as 'him' or 'her'; where opportunities were provided based on our competence & skills, irrespective of our gender. Having witnessed many live examples of women-led development to being one myself, I can certainly vouch for the fact that when a woman's versatility, perseverance, and dedication is coupled with equal opportunity, even sky is not the limit for her! Though it is saddening that only a handful of firms in our country implement this culture, and a majority of women face gender discrimination at the workplace even in this day and age. Nevertheless, we've come a long way and a long journey lies ahead of us on our road to equality. And when I say "equality", it implies equality not only in terms of "rights" but in terms of "duties" as well, for greater responsibility and accountability inseparably follow a great opportunity."
You may also like to read - The Girl Who Went Beyond Being Shackled As A Rat In This Corporate World