In the run-up to the International Women's Day on 8th March, we urged women and men in management to tell their personal stories about their understanding of the various elements around gender equality, the revolutionary 'Me Too' movement, and other crucial events pertinent to the struggles of women in this world. Here is what they have to say.
Tell us something about yourself
Hola everyone! This is Chinmay Bindal from IFMR GSB Krea University at Sricity, currently pursuing my race to be in a top corporate in this big uncaring and highly competitive world! I am from Indore, where topics like these were nonexistent until a few years ago but the awareness spread through all the social media campaigns that have made a valiant effort to make people understand that women are equal to men and, many times, even a step ahead due to the psychological fight they have with themselves and the world.
I am a cricket fanatic and have done a short stint with All India Radio as a Cricket Commentator along with my professional journey. The reason I inserted this is to explain how much more women's cricket is celebrated in India, than maybe just a decade ago. Not only are women players gaining popularity but what is significant is that women entering the commentary box for a Men's International Series is so common now, and that is a salute to the growing awareness on gender equality.
What is your take on the #MeToo movement? What kind of impact has it created and how did you respond to it?
It is really super easy to turn someone into a villain and women, more than the men I feel, have been facing this from a long long time. "#Metoo is not a moment but a movement", as rightly said by Tarana Bruke. You can shatter someone's dream in a moment but mind you, if the same girl wakes up enlightened and aware, then be ready for a complete thrashing for the people who broke her dreams. The movement is not only about women at business offices, but it's also everywhere from a school girl to an old lady and sometimes a girl facing it at all the stages. More than a #Metoo movement, it has to be a movement of #Whyher. The movement has surely given the women the power to stand and say "Hey, I want equal respect" and that is something wonderful that's happening.
This movement has helped explain consent - consent to live freely, consent to stand up and act, consent to be together and stand up and fight, consent to go out and travel solo and without fear and most importantly consent to not get anyone's consent at all. I will not say that this movement has changed my perspective towards women. I will not say that this movement has made me learn how to respect women because it is something that has to come from within; one has to be foolish enough to cite a movement as an inspiration for the above things, but yes I certainly feel this movement has helped me to see how the world has changed towards women in a very quick turnaround time. Men who had their ego wrongly held high have understood that there is another gender existing in this world who can beat you on any day on any topic.
Have you come across a situation where you encountered reverse sexism? What was the incident and how did you overcome that?
Fortunately, no! But yes I have seen some men being the victim at times and would share that experience.
In India, it's hard to speak up as a man on any sexism faced because almost all times you can easily be proved wrong, and I don't blame my women counterparts for this. I don't blame them because in today's world, what women collectively are facing in proportion to men is much more in magnitude and to prove something right against women harassing or fielding sexism takes extreme courage and patience.
The best instance I can remember is when one of my best friends was rejected at an interview for a sales job just because he was a man and a girl was selected in his place. And this happens, especially amongst MBA's. And just to re-iterate, the product in question was a general one, i.e., it was of use to all genders, which meant that anyone could have been hired. And it's good in fact that this question came up - #MeToo is for all genders. What my friend did was very mature on his part. He just smiled and congratulated the selected candidates, all of whom were female candidates, and moved on. Yes, he could have fought and argued but it is easier said than done.
There is an article in the New York Times titled 'Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to them at the Office'. What is your take on this?
This story can directly be linked to what happens in the families today no matter what part of the world you live in. In fact, the story of Talat Khanam from SPJIMR at the very same platform is an exact replica of what the situation that is being described in this Article by Dr. Lisa Damour. Parents play a humongous role in a daughter's life and if they give her the strength and support then we can have numerous examples of a women's success and leading big corporate houses. Confidence has such a key role to play along with treating genders equal, and all this starts right at home.
What steps will you personally take to make people around you more aware of gender inequality?
For me personally, gender inequality is always more inclined towards being unfair to the women community; leave not only women but it's unfair to even the LGBTQ community, especially in our country. So I don't ever go to a man explaining why we shouldn't be a part of gender inequality, I never go and talk to a man to say that you should respect women. No, I mean that's just not right. I always, if given a chance, go to my female friends and tell them to stand up and thrash any and every person who tries to demean them, who tries to pull them down. The effect a woman can have in explaining this, I will never ever have. And I would plead this to everyone also reading this to not explain to the world and the student community why gender equality shouldn't take place; everybody knows the answer. Instead, go to the person facing this and help them come out of it strongly. That's the best we can do to help spread the word.
Ignoring situations is never a solution, and I would certainly love to tell all whom I meet to not ignore situations and bravely face and teach lessons when needed. It's an MBA and it's the most fascinating part of our lives for sure, so why not make it the most memorable one as well. I will certainly take steps to prevent gender inequality in whatever way I can. You don't need to be a feminist, you don't need to go and tell a girl what she needs and what she should do, you don't need to differentiate between a man and a woman, you don't need to pity a woman and then help her out. No, that is just not right. More than explaining things to others, we need to explain it to ourselves.
On this note, I would like to celebrate womanhood and as a man fondly congratulate them with gracing the whole world with their skills and making the planet a beautiful place to live on! #OwnYourStory