Women empowerment is a social and cultural issue

The other day I went for annual health check. When I go to hospitals, I indulge in a bit of chit chat with the technicians, receptionists & nurses. It’s a habit I picked during first few years of my career (I used to sell hi-tech medical equipment to hospitals). The technicians and nurses were gatekeepers, they had to be kept in good humor.

Well.. coming to the main point, I started chatting with the technician who was doing various tests. She was a trained nurse. She had worked in a hospital and was doing well. She liked her job, but gave it up after marriage.

She started working in a diagnostic centre, where she had no growth prospects, earned much less but had fixed work hours.


She said, “Madam, it was much better in earlier days when women didn’t work. We just had to manage home. Now we have to do double shift.”

I asked, “Doesn’t your husband help?”

She gave me incredulous look and said, “Do men ever help? Duh.. I don’t have enough money to get domestic help. Give me a choice, I will quit the job, but he won’t let me. He wants me to earn, and also do housework. That’s the life of a woman.”

Here I was, talking to a woman from real India – supposedly financially empowered – but getting rough end on both sides.

The media is abuzz with news of women empowerment in corporate world, bringing them to work, growing them to leadership positions, awarding women leaders etc. etc. #Metoo ofcourse is omnipresent!

Programs, news, awards around gender diversity have now become a money spinner! Hundreds of companies have mushroomed around this topic – akin to flies swarming around jaggery in mom and pop stores (sorry for the crude analogy, but I couldn’t think of better one!)

Unfortunately, these are only good to have!

The core issue lies somewhere else all together – families in middle or lower middle classes, in semi urban areas. There is huge potential to bring the change, but is it getting adequate attention? If not, why so?

Conferences, programs, awards etc. are good, but we won’t see much difference without bringing change at grass root level.

Hats off to companies like P&G that are hitting on core issues like this through #ShareTheLoad


Question to ponder – Is there a need for more corporates to focus on partnering with NGOs working at grass root levels? And bring the necessary social and cultural change where it matters the most.

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