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Biases In The Life Of Women

Are you aware of the fact that gender bias starts even before a child is born? How many of you have wanted to ask or have asked someone who’s due for delivery, “Do you want a girl or a boy?’’ or “Will you be happy if it’s a girl or a boy? "While mostly urban parents show gender bias that is based on centuries-old religious beliefs and sayings from ancient times; in rural areas discrimination in the form of denial or ignorance of female child’s education, health, nutrition, and recreational needs are still prevalent.

As a kid, the girl child is instructed what sports to be played or watched. How many girls are seen playing cricket or boxing when young. How many fathers or brothers would allow their daughters, sisters, or wives to pursue Hockey or Football as a career amidst the current scenario?

Sports What happened to girls who pursued sports as their career? ➢ Indian women’s cricket team skipper Mithali Raj feels they should not be compared to their male counterparts and laments the lack of recognition despite representing a country where the sport reigns supreme. ➢ The veteran player Mithali Raj came up with a snappy response when asked who her favourite men’s cricketer was between India and Pakistan. ➢ “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” she said to the scribe in question. I have always been asked who’s your favourite cricketer but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is.” So what are the reasons for such discrimination, one wonders. As one of the leading newspapers recently claimed, “Sports is ultimately about the human body, which is why it is a remarkable barometer of the physical differences between men and women and the social perceptions about these differences.”


Kangana, in her post Queen phase, became the highest paid actress after signing a movie for 11 crores last year and now Deepika has taken over demanding a whooping 15 crores for signing new projects. All heads turned on the big question of how much Bollywood actresses get paid ever since Kangana came out strongly against the disparity in the pay checks compared to their male counterparts in the industry last year. While the debate did push their salaries up by some crores, the difference still remains quite apparent.

According to IANS, superstars Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar were a part of Forbes first global list of actors. While the fee of Indian actors keeps on increasing with each film, indicating that there is no recession in our industry, it has remained static for the actresses until recently. With a surge in femalecentric films and their successful outing at the box office, our female leads have begun questioning the longstanding disparity and sought equality.

Education For decades, girls lagged behind in school enrolment. Poor families preferred to spend their limited resources on educating their sons. If girls went to school at all, they would be pulled out early to get married. Daughters were expected to grow up to become homemakers, not educated professionals.

Year after year, we read that girls outshine boys in Class 10 and Class 12 results across all boards in India. According to CBSE, in class 12, a total of 87.5 per cent girls passed the exams compared with 78 per cent boys in 2017.

What happens to these numbers as they enter college and corporate world? Well, girls become the victim of discrimination in their everyday life. We hear even parents asking their daughters to get married and then study. Even if they manage to finish their higher studies and enter the corporate world, what kinds of jobs are entrusted to women?

The hard facts The gender pay gap in India for the year 2013 was recorded at 24.81% by Wage Indicator, and a curious stat is that this gap increases with age. Women below the age of 30 earned 23.07% less than men, while those in the age group of 30-40 years earned 30.24% less than men. There’s a clear gap in growth charts in a career for a man and woman in India.

The inequality women face at the workplace is but a symptom of the broader issue. In rural India, the average salary received by regular employees was ₹428.66 per day for women compared with ₹550.23 per day for males (during 2011-12). The discrepancy— ₹609.7 and ₹805.52 per day for women and men respectively—was evident in urban areas too.

One of the biggest reasons why women occupy fewer leadership positions is the lack of support after marriage, both professionally and domestically.

The Glass Elevator effect In a recent study it has been noted that that more men are entering female-dominated professions like teaching and nursing, in an effort to achieve job stability, financial security and more time for family life. This employment shift has accounted for nearly a third of men’s total job growth from 2000 to 2010. However, while it’s good for men and potentially good for families, it’s a bit more complicated for the women in these fields.

From closed door to open door women have slowly taken over male dominated jobs. But, they suffered a glass ceiling effect, the unseen barrier that keeps them from rising to senior-level management. There is yet another big obstacle, the “glass escalator.” While women climb the ladder in female-dominated professions, their male peers glide past them on an invisible escalator, shooting straight to the top. It has been noted that men entering female-dominated professions tend to be promoted at faster rates than women in those professions. Hence, the representation of the senior management is one sided with male domination.

Common Gender biases at work that women face ➢ It starts right from hiring –“Are you married? When do you plan to start your family?” With the intention to know if the person will go on maternity leave immediately or not. ➢ Lower appraisal rating for a lady on maternity leave as compared to another peer who has performed for 12 months ➢ “Since your husband also earns you may not be desperate for that hike.” ➢ “You have the luxury of leaving early from work.” ➢ If women leaves her job to start her own venture, it is considered as a time pass activity. ➢ Wrongly assuming that if the lady is pregnant or is a young mother, she will not be able to handle that promotion and the new role.

The way forward ➢ Work-life balance in today’s context is especially important for married women with children. Even though technology has facilitated telecommuting and the ability to stay connected irrespective of someone’s location, concrete steps to better work-life policies are still under-developed. However, to shape and mould an equal hierarchical structure, it’s important to change mind-sets of individuals within organizations. ➢ The leaders of corporate India, especially the large number of men that find themselves in their position, must take steps to address this inequality. Mechanisms must be promoted to address patriarchal biases and policies must be established to abolish gender inequalities in the workplace. Most importantly, a free space for dialogue should be created where employees can speak about discriminations they face while working in an organization.

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Biases in the life of women  

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