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It's Not A Man's World: Priyanka Sharma Kaintura

13-May-2018
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It's Not A Man's World: Priyanka Sharma Kaintura

We accept it or not but women play the largest role in shaping societies. This mother’s day I am addressing both the men and the women, the boys and the girls by addressing their mothers.

Firstly, I want to drive your attention to a character we have all heard of. He is named, Lord Krishna. Picture him in today’s times - dressed in a pair of bright yellow pants, a bird feather tucked in his long curly locks, a chunky belt, cross-legged by a café wall merrily playing the mouth organ. Don’t tell me what your inner voice just said to you. The truth is that we have always thought of him as a genius, not just with the Gopis but also at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Then how come the same rock star seems to be a gross misfit today. No-no the times haven’t changed, as much as we have. We now define masculinity quite differently.

What is masculinity? It is largely the faculty of ‘commerce’ - of loss and gain; give and take; dominance and subservience; success and failure. Of course, there are women who exhibit this faculty. And that’s because masculinity doesn’t belong only to men. How else the biggest banks are led by women! Masculinity exists in every human being irrespective of gender and shows up when beckoned. Don’t we reckon Lakshmi as the Goddess of commerce?

And what is femininity? It is broadly the faculty of ‘aesthetics’ - the ability to spot and build splendor in things, people and life at large So are we saying men don’t own this at all? What about men in photography, auto designing, architecture, art? Smartphones that are said to be an epitome of aesthetics are designed by teams led by men. Martial arts are called arts after all. I have personally seen men who appreciate aesthetics at home & work more than their wives do. And if aesthetics is all that women are about, then what do Durga as other warrior goddesses stand for?

We ought to recognize that it’s not a man’s world. It’s a masculine world. The evolution lies in the appreciation of this minuscule difference. We are turning into a lopsided, commercial, compassion less, dark society out of a fear that it’s a man’s world. We are systematically disparaging the femininity. We have parked-away the aesthetics - the art of real conversations, listening and empathy; which contains an unbeatable amount of might. Commerce drives life but aesthetics make it livable. Both must co-exist.

Humanity is largely divided into only two forms – men and women. Let’s come to an understanding that between the two forms, men have enjoyed certain privileges in our societies. And that’s partly because the womenfolk made a choice of accepting it, and at the same time appreciating it. Call me patriarchal but I personally see nothing wrong with it. But I also believe that it’s time that the courtesy is returned. It’s time that women earn themselves a position of privilege not for a certain feminist agenda but to save the communities from becoming more & more masculine. I say this because I believe the more a society is cornered, strapped and controlled, the more their women and not just men turn to summon their masculinity.

Humans are the most advanced beings in this universe. Together men and women must identify imbalances but the ones deep-rooted in the societies will always be most challenging to address. The only people who can steer the change in formative years is mothers. The masculinity of society is an imbalance that can be addressed only once recognized. I would say let’s create the balance by saving the femininity. It’s not only stifling inside women at workplaces and families but also inside the menfolk. Gender parity is a thing of attitude and not just a policy.

I am leaving here some numbers and their insinuations for you to ponder and be the change you want to see. Recently we conducted a survey at Monster.com where about 2400 men and 3200 women participated to understand the issues with the women in India Inc. One of the findings is that 44.45% men confirm that they can be effective advocates of change for gender initiative programs at the workplace. And 39.46% women agreed with them. However, what made me sit up is that 40.17% women feel that men are gender-equality allies only in private because they fear being judged by their male peers. 39.52% also feel that men don’t know what to do around these issues and choose to be silent. This is something, I believe men truly need to delve upon.

The same survey also threw up the top reasons for discrimination at work:

· Women not being considered for senior leadership roles (40.65%)

o Made me think if it is to do with the caliber or also to do with attitude? The attitude on both sides. Are we women unintentionally demonstrating the lack of accountability or confidence? Or is it that both men & women as decision makers are unable to recognize it in the women candidates

· Marriage and maternity leading to the perception that women will be less serious about work (42% and 37.40% respectively)

o All I can say as a woman is that our biological cycle is a condition, not a disease. We, women, need to ensure it’s not made into one

· Notion that women can’t handle emotions at work (35.63%)

o Last I checked emotions was not listed under vices. An ideal worker is the one who invests not only his/ her mind but also the heart. People are organizations’ biggest assets and they come with emotions
Priyanka Sharma Kaintura is the Author of My Jiffies & Head of Communications & Content Marketing - APAC & Gulf, Monster.com

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