“Dear Mothers, Wives, Sisters & Daughters” You can’t be our co-workers…

8 Mar , 2017  

I was quite depressed when my elder daughter was born, now don’t raise your eyebrows, she is one of the most colorful things ever happened to me in my life, it was more due to the cold reaction of the nursing staff of the hospital, they kept saying, girl child, girl child in my mother tongue with a tone which wasn’t very enthusiastic. It’s been 13 years since that date, I don’t know if people at those hospitals have changed or not but I know for sure that reactions at our highly elite workplaces in this period have been no different than that hospital in a distant town.

Every organisation which wants its piece of PR are quick to jump on to talk about how they are enhancing the inclusion of women and offering equal and flexible opportunities for growth.  I must admit that there are some outstanding initiatives by some of the employers in this direction. But I suspect if majority of the organisations have the execution power to make this intent of being an equal opportunity employer truly possible. There is still a huge discrimination, if only people with authority get out of their palatial cabins and listen to the conversations at every level of their organisation!

At the cost of opening a Pandora’s box I thought I would list some of the ‘conversations’ which never get openly discussed but are part of private musings in most organisations. I reckon you will relate to some of them even though you may not agree with them, you may also proudly claim that this never happens with your current employer. It’s a long list…

  • “She is just about to get married, hubby is in the other town, it’s only a matter of time before she will move with him, even though she says they are pursuing their careers now, I am sure family pressures will get the better of them. We should hire somebody who will give us more stability”
  • “Do you want me to do the budgets or have more women in my team?”
  • “I heard Mary stays with her In-Laws and she is expected to be at home by 630 PM every day to attend to them, she can’t stretch, it will be difficult to have her on this project which may have late hour working.”
  • “Boss we have a situation, Grace is pregnant, this project and customer are in danger when she goes off on her maternity leave, don’t know what to do, I had advised earlier not to give her this critical project, we don’t even know if she will come back to work”.
  • “After her first baby Geetha’s attention and response time has dipped significantly, People around her are feeling the heat as she is not contributing equally to compared to her team”.
  • “We gave Meher work from home option as she wanted to give attention to her new born, now others are asking for WFH for issues which they call as personal issues. Can Meher come to office at least 3 days a week?”
  • “This is a critical role for our current year’s target achievement, I don’t think Usha will be able to travel to the extent this role may demand, it’s important we get the commitment from her upfront on travel before we offer her this role.”
  • “How can Priyanka get promoted to a director position when she was working from home? this has never happened before; this is going to raise a few eyebrows”
  • “Charu comes from a well to do family, Husband is in a high-flying job, she is not dependent on this job for her income, we need somebody who needs this job.”
  • “Look’ her last drawn salary was 600 K, she is coming back after 7 years break, at an average increment of 10% a year she would have reached at about 1.2 million by now, she wants 1.5 million per year, she is seeking a correction despite not having worked all these years. We should start at her last drawn salary, test her if she can match up to the pace, based on performance let’s give her the market salary.
  • “She keeps saying family is her priority all the time, the role we have has only men in the team, as a manager you think she will be able to spend after work time socializing with them to develop the team spirit that is required?”
  • “The job involves socializing with customers which includes wining and dining, you think as a woman you would be comfortable doing this” (a popular interview question!)

Now you know you can double those bullet points with your own experiences, if the above pointers are figment of my imagination then I am out of touch from your wonderful real world and guilty as charged!

I don’t know if I can take a ‘holier than thou’ stance on this, as you might imagine I must have been part of some of these conversations or heard them from my colleagues and friends, otherwise how will I know all these?

My own career growth over the last 16 years is attributed to hard working women, 70% of my colleagues in both of those employers were smart, gritty, sacrificing women. Feels a little hollow to say this here as I might have not told this to them directly!

I don’t know if I could have been this candid till about I imagined my sister, wife and daughters to be working in the world of work people like me have created.

So, this is post from a selfish son, father, husband & brother hoping for a better tomorrow for all the women out there!

I celebrate two things today, my mother’s birthday and to all of you women who immensely contributed to who I am today as colleagues, friends, relatives, cousins and customers:  Happy Women’s Day!


Happy Birthday Mom!

One Response

  1. Suchitra says:

    You are good in soul……kind in words ……….i admire your thoughts and feel proud to be one among your friends …..

Leave a Reply