• Subha

Is The Women At Work Debate Going In Circles?

Updated: Aug 25


A few months ago, Uber came into the line of fire for the way it treated its women employees. Uber is still dealing with the repercussions. An Ex-Google staff member, Joshua Damone, is now an internet hero and villain. In a widely circulated memo, he tried to explain that women don’t do well in tech because they cannot handle the pressures of it- an opinion that actually has many takers in Silicon Valley!

To be sure, women around the world continue to manage households, brings up babies and still have successful careers.

On the other hand, we have companies being lambasted by women for offering women paid menstrual leave. After all, equality means equal policies for all, doesn’t it?

Perhaps the reason for women at work to be a debatable topic in 2017 is that the ideas of feminism in which women took up earning positions in society are now diluted. Let us go back to the period debate. Some women feel that period leave is unfair to men and hence promotes inequality. It just gives the men another reason to point a cribbing finger. Others are of the opinion that equality means equal opportunity to be efficient, and since women do have very difficult days and cannot always be efficient during their period, it is an acceptable compromise.

The other point of contention is quite akin to America’s generations-old struggle against racism. In an effort to make up for lost time, women often are put on a pedestal and treated like Goddesses, often by their own peers of the other gender. As a result, women often don’t get the feedback they deserve or need, in order to fruitfully advance in their careers. The same goes for pregnant women, bereaved women, and women with new children back at work.

Perhaps it would help to have a world committee sit down and discuss what does and doesn’t come under the umbrella of workplace equality. Perhaps they can tell us whether period leave is a step forward or backwards. Perhaps such a committee would be able to take a fine lens to each situation. Let them tell us exactly where we falter when it comes to treating women at workplaces equally- not fairly, not with generosity, but just the same way we would treat the men. So what should the diversity ratio of this committee look like?!

It may not be too much of a presumption to state that women can, and do, handle criticism just as well as their male counterparts. Having obtained the same prestigious degrees or worked their way up the same ladder, women can surely succeed just as much as men in the workplace. They can fail just as much too, without the need for constant handholding and ‘being taken under the wing’.

In short, equality at the workplace could simply mean having the independence and the freedom to make their own choices and stand by them without needing a crutch in the form of policies.

Would love to hear your thoughts. We are just touching the tip of the iceberg here.

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