Millennium Post

What women want

Women need level playing fields and better acceptability if they must succeed

The gods of consumerism never forget to remind us of impending days of so-called "celebration". They ask us to celebrate love, parents, children etc. True to its superficial designs, the day to celebrate women is upon us. Buy clothes at a discount, surprise the woman in your life with a diamond, or simply get free popcorn with your movie…yes, these are exactly what we women are aspiring for. Umm…not! Appreciating us for the innumerable chores that we undertake or the stellar support that we provide to partners, spouses, friends, and families is quite alright but trust me when I say, we can do without the trappings of consumerism. Let me tell you what women truly need in 2020.

We want the same rules that apply to boys. No, really. This is still very much the base issue whether at home or in the office. Men get the fatter pay packages, the easier promotions, the larger investments from PE-VCs. Women are still very much receiving the short end of the stick. A couple of weeks ago I had written about the pay inequality among between male and female CXOs which has doubled in FY19! This inequality is visible in almost all sectors and industries. Boys are encouraged to pursue studies and careers; women are accommodated a few years of work only to be homebound and career-less after marriage and kids. So yes, we want to be governed by the same rules.

Women also want a better quality of living, our travel, workplace, homes must be safe for us. We should be able to participate more willingly into the workforce of the country. We shouldn't have to refuse jobs with graveyard shifts because god knows what will happen to us in the dead of the night! Our companies should have flexible HR policies, creches in the office, and ample chance to get back to work after motherhood.

Let us choose, fail, succeed, repeat. Enough of the fake feminists and liberals who apparently hold women empowerment close to their heart. Let your girl child not be chided for holding an opinion (à la Sourav Ganguly). Don't pass us for a job because either you can't keep it in your pants and/or can't ensure a sexual harassment-free workplace. If you believe in women entrepreneurs, then put your money (or at least your projects) where your mouth is. Believe in us to execute outside of the house as efficiently as we handle the home front.

One sure-shot way of helping us this Women's Day would be by encouraging men to don fluid domestic roles. Some brilliant men are already supporting their partners by taking on the same domestic responsibilities as women. We need more of these evolved men; you could help by not holding men to impossible "male" ideals and roles. Yes, the world has changed while your mother was making your evening tea and your wife taking off your shoes.

Most importantly, accept us the way we are, with our aggression, ambition, dreams, sex drives et al. In 2020, it is laughable that I even have to write this but it's true, isn't it? Every day, women are expected to trim their desires (whatever kind they may be). But not all women are docile, subservient, slaves to the rest of the world. Some have broken these mental and societal shackles, and are helping their next generations and surrounding ecosystems to do the same.

Give us these on International Women's Day because without all of you there can never be #EachForEqual, which is the theme for Women's Day this year. Ultimately, women want to live without the social and economic restrictions that even today invisibly govern our choices. An opportunity to exist under the open sky without "expectations" of what we should or should not do at a certain age…at any age.

The writer is an author and media entrepreneur. Views expressed are strictly personal

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