Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Women

I have had this post in mind for quite a long time now. I thought I would publish this atleast in time for “International Women’s Day” which happened last week. Even that did not happen. Finally, comforting myself that it is always better late than never, I am posting this piece:

A girl from my office is also my travel mate in cab. The other day we were having this discussion about salary in relation to tax and investments. I was telling her that in spite of both of us having the same base pay, she would get more salary at the end of the month because the government favored the fairer sex. Her immediate reaction was defense. She said that there were hardly a few number of female employees in the organization and the government was giving extra sops only to encourage more women in this field.

I nodded in agreement with this. It was indeed a good thing that the government gave a higher tax rebate for women. After all the sufferings the entire womankind has gone through for so many years, their efforts, dedication and hardwork were finally bearing results. They have endured so much pain, insult and wicked advances by lechers in this male-dominated society to finally establish themselves. I have seen so many women who have struggled and put up with so much of hardship just for the comfort and well being of their loved ones – Ma being one of them. They sacrifice their happiness to ensure that we are happy. No wonder then that behind every successful man, is a woman. I really admire them for their gentle, yet hardworking; caring, yet ambitious attitude.

But there was one another thing that the girl said that set me thinking – the number of females in the organisation is less and that’s one reason the taxes are reduced for them. This set me thinking. Do numbers really matter? To an extent, I felt yes. This is just to make all the ladies in office comfortable that their ratio is not too less. But apart from that, it really does not matter. In fact, after much thought, I felt that being less in number was actually good for the girls. You ask me why? Read on...

The lesser the number of girls, the more attention each one gets. Each girl is observed closely by many colleagues – the way they talk, their dressing style, their attitude – eveything. Seeking attention is one of the basic requirement of any human being – especially woman. So being less in number actually helps them – the teams look forward to having them in their projects; the guys look forward to get a chance to talk to them, probably ask them out; the ocassional mistakes that they make are not noticed as much as the others’ and they are always given first preference when requests are serviced. Their concerns and thoughts get voiced more easily than the bulk of the male colleagues. Aren’t all these things good ? Besides they get lots of choices as compared to their male counterparts. Add to this, the tax rebate that they get, the poor guy in office ends up feeling that girls have an unfair advantage over the guys.

Even after all these advantages the woman at workplace enjoys, and rightly so, I still feel that womankind as a whole are not given their true share. Nature has bestowed the power of creation to them. But the ever insecure male clan has always subjected women to harassment and pain. There are so many cases of crime against women these days, even in the so-called cultured and educated households. Atleast, this is slowly changing. I wish the change happens faster and we get to see a better world where women are treated with respect and care. I take this opportunity to thank all the women who have helped me be what I am today. Belated women’s day wishes

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice article :). Thank you so much for your wishes :)

Ravi said...

Though I agree with the part about life being tough for women, don't entirely agree about the attention seeking part and that women enjoy it .Some of them might enjoy it but I'm sure most of them would like to be treated as their male counterparts!

Shashia said...

@Ravi

I agree with you. When I said that women enjoy more attention, i was referring to the natural human quality to be listened to and cared for - as children we all have it. But as we grow up, generally, women tend to retain it more than the men.

About being treated equally at workplace, most of the times they are. But due to their being so less in number, their ocassional mistakes are ignored or their mails are replied to in preference to others.

Anantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anantha said...

Ummm.. I dont agree wid dis one!

I hv had numerous fierce arguments wid my female friends about the same topic, and all of them have given the same "justification" as ur friend has given.

I agree there have been lot of so called customs which have suppressed women in the past. Some are still in practice even by "cultured" societies, which is sad. I even salute the role the women play in our lives, but for that reason I DO NOT think they should get a tax rebate!

The industry we all work is a knowledge based one and gender is neither a hindrance nor an advantage for any gender over the other here. That is the reason there is no bias over the compensations both the genders get. Then why is there a tax rebate for women? Let me just extend (exaggerate?) this rule to other areas in our industry also..

Assume u n ur female teammate [both equally capable and knowledgeable] have worked hard in the last year for this year's appraisals. Do u think ur manager should give her a better rating because she is a woman?

Assume u n a female are fighting for a single vacant post. Both have performed equally well in all rounds of interviews. Do u feel she should be considered for the job just because she is a woman?

Should managers and interviewers give these women an advantage, because there has been domination by men over womankind for centuries? I do not think this is fair.

Giving tax rebate to encourage women to work in this field is like fixing the problem in the wrong place. Instead Govt should fix the leaks in the system for female feticides, girl child's education, about women empowerment.

About ur point on, “The lesser the number of girls, the more attention each one gets. Each girl is observed closely by many colleagues the way they talk, their dressing style, their attitude everything. Seeking attention is one of the basic requirements of any human being especially woman. So being less in number actually helps them... so on", were you sarcastic in making this comment? I did not feel ur justifying it with right reasons.

Shashia said...

Okie anna. If you have had so many fierce fights already about this, then I dare not fight with you on this :) But let me clarify on some issues that you have brought up.

I agree with you when you say that in our knowledge-based industry, merit alone is the criteria for any kind of job/appraisal/vacancy. So the answers to the questions you have asked will be definitely “no”. But given the role that a woman plays in our society, I still feel that a working woman is entitled to economic sops.

Traditionally, it is the male child that has a compulsion to study. It is he who has to earn for the family. He is not bothered about learning household tasks – cooking,cleaning, etc. But when it comes to a girl, she is expected to know all the household chores first. Only after learning this and executing these tasks, she is given a chance to study. And after that to work. So when a woman comes to work, she is defying the normal tradition – even after marriage or having a baby, she will come to work and continue to support the family. It is because of that extra effort that women are putting that the government should encourage them. Now, you might say that these things are changing and there should be a reversal of roles in the family – the guy should also learn household chores, etc. But frankly speaking, this is a social change and takes very long to happen. And some roles cannot be reversed by nature.

The government has already taken steps to fix the system by banning foeticide, empowering women, etc. But these things also take time to get implemented - it should come from proper education. Once these are firmly in place and our society has completeley accepted the working women, the government can surely and should definitely remove the extra rebate. So until then there is nothing wrong in having just a little extra tax rebate for women.

When I wrote this post the things I had in mind were this:
1. Women getting tax rebate
2. Women complaining about they being less in number.

The first point was covered in the previous explanation. Coming to the second point, when I thought about it, I felt it could be interpreted as a good thing rather than a bad one. I had so many thoughts in mind and when writing that fifth para, it has not come out right. Reading it again, I feel the first thing that comes to people’s mind is “women are always attention seeking”. But unfortunately this is not what I wanted to say :(

It is easier to get noticed in a small crowd rather than a big one. In an office if there are ten guys who wear a specs and blazer suit everyday, it will be tough to refer to one of them without knowing their name. But if there is only one person in the entire office, it becomes easy to spot and recognize. And yes, the work that they do will still be the only criteria to judge them. Let us consider the example of some talented women in the nation like Indira Gandhi, Kiran Bedi, Kalpana Chawla, etc. They became famous by virtue of their contribution and not because they were women. But again, the traditional male society still says, “inspite of being women, they became famous”! So gender comes into play once you get famous whether you like it or not, especially in case of women.We could take the logic in the opposite way also. If guys go to jobs that are traditionally done by females, even they get recognized soon.

When I said guys look forward to having them as project mates, I was referring to the obviuos male instinct. That is why we have the "ladies first" policy. Generally if a guy and a girl ask a doubt or question to a teacher simultaneously, it is the girl who gets replied to (if the teacher is a male).

I take full blame for not being myslef clear in this post. Being a guy, I feel it is difficult to see the other angle in this post. At the end of this post, a typical guy would end up feeling jealous or bad that women are treated better at workplace. A typical girl would feel “WTH, we should be judged by the work we do and not our numbers or whatever”. This was just an attempt to have a balanced view point.

Saravanan said...

I think Women should get extra benefit just like the Senior Citizens get. (I assume you know that, the tax bracket for Senior Citizen is better than Woman)It has nothing to do with where they work or what they work upon. The tax rebate should be for the next few years till Women : Men ratio in the offices are 1 : 1.

Government wants Women to go out and earn and that is the reason for better tax rebates. The current generation is full of promises making India a better nation to live in. I am sure in the coming few years everyone will be treated equally.

"Attention Seeking" - I think everyone needs attention. I do agree with you.. :)

Anantha said...

@Shashi mam:

I appreciate your effort to accentuate the plausible reason behind tax rebate for women.
But I still stick to my opinion :)

About, ...Now, you might say that these things are changing and there should be a reversal of roles in the family – the guy should also learn household chores, etc. But frankly speaking, this is a social change and takes very long to happen..

The social change ur talking about has stepped in already with most of the urban population. So when women and men are considered equals, why is der a question of distinction on tax?

I tell you, we seldom may find another country on this planet with such a huge socio economic divide. IMO, the rural India is at least a century behind the urban India, growth wise, facilities wise, education wise, per capita income wise... So I feel, to frame a common rule for all of them is stupid!

When I said guys look forward to having them as project mates, I was referring to the obviuos male instinct. That is why we have the "ladies first" policy. Generally if a guy and a girl ask a doubt or question to a teacher simultaneously, it is the girl who gets replied to (if the teacher is a male).

This raises another interesting question on the male attitude. Do we men say 'Ladies First' cos of the respect towards them or as a merciful act considering them as weaker sex? Though I do it for the former, It is an irony if some men think the latter before saying 'Ladies first'...


@Saravanan

When u say 1:1 ratio, hope ur not hinting at reservation :p

Ravi said...

Now That you mention it Shashi, I googled a lot but couldn't find any documented reason for why women pay less tax than men. I assume at the time of creating these parameters the people in-charge a similar logic as mentioned by you, which was very valid at that time. But I think the time has come to take a look at this disparity. The best thing would be to reduce the slab for males also! :)

Shashia said...

@Saravanan :
That is still a long way to go before the ratio becomes 1 : 1. But in some cases, the nature of the job is such that it should not become 1 : 1.

@Ananth Anna :
Yes. Men say “Ladies First” in most of the cases because of the respect towards women.

Consider this situation: suppose a guy and girl of equal capabilities are standing in a queue for buying movie tickets, there is no obligation on guy to allow the girl first. In such cases, some women might even try to misuse the respect shown to them and try to break the queue. Most men try to get violent and involve in fights with ladies. The others think of the latter only in such cases and allow the girls first. Even otherwise, the crowd comes to the resuce of the girl with such merciful arguments.

@Ravi:
The disparity could be removed in high paying jobs where money does not become an issue anymore – at that levels, it is all about career and job satisfaction.

I would be the first ones to welcome the reduction in tax slabs for men too. The government usually does it during poll time. ;)