Monday, August 12

Women and Empowerment

I'm about to put my foot in my mouth, and I don't care. This may not apply to all women but it doesn't have too many exceptions either.

Women need protection and empowerment and support and understanding, yes, for sure.

From who?
Other women.

Women are the biggest enemies of women. Alpha male is not just a syndrome noticed in men, but certainly exists in women as well.

Which is why, rarely do we see women getting along with other women, especially without a clear hierarchy in place. Women are insecure and can't share the limelight with other gifted women unless they all feel comfortable in their skin and position. Be it the typical saas-bahu at home, or two peers at work, or a reporting relationship.

It's sad. Men get along as friends and colleagues, in school and office. Women who are supposed to be nurturing and warm, often end up backbiting and messing up relationships. And then we say women need empowerment in a male dominated world. I'm sure some do, but that applies equally to men who are meeker than many other men AND women alike.

Under the guise of diversity and inclusion, a lot of effort and resources go into actually doing the opposite - creating programs that exclude men from women and create a sense of differentiation. Going back to the concept of co-ed and convent schools, how are we plugging the gap by driving women-only missions?

Women in corporates are the last ones that need empowerment, in my opinion. What we do need is a session on being kind and genuine to each other. Not just on the face, but to have one face in front of everyone. Treat everyone with respect and not discriminate basis friendship and org hierarchy. Whether it is at a lunch table or conference table, don't make anyone feel isolated or humiliated. That's what we all need to reiterate. Men, I think, are far sorted because they don't bother about such petty things. Which is why most men get along with each other without pretending to be best pals, become buddies in a group with few or no expectations and last longer than thick feminine friendships that grow bitter in time. Emotions that are considered a women's forte, are exactly what we forget when we aren't on the receiving end of being mocked, ignored or criticised.

Not true across the board, but I speak from experience. I've been spoken down to by women far more often than men, and these ladies have been senior, junior and on the same level as me at work. Bullied in school and college. In society. Some of them not half as capable as me, but with added courage coz of their pack at their back.

I've never been in a pack, coz I've seen this happen in too many places and I call it out when I see it.

Since I come from a Psychology background, I do think I have a fair understanding of these terms and behaviors I'm describing with conviction, not bias.

One could argue that I could be the cause of the uncouth behavior and not a victim, but women who are leaders or aspiring leaders often talk down to people than motivate or support them. They mistake being obnoxious for assertive and they think being bossy is a leadership trait. This, I've heard across the circles.

Don't try to be a man. Just be a woman. Be a leader. Stop competing, because really, true talent and potential will shine. If you are afraid someone will shine brighter than you, that's fine too. There are enough places for all of us, and just like we tell kids - we don't have to be #1 in everything. Don't pull someone down coz you can't climb up unless you step over that person.

Women empowerment started off as a good initiative. I think we have lost the plot somewhere. Support all genders, not one or some. Keep the ground level and fair. Ask questions, listen to answers, help where you can and ask for help when you need. Be open. There's too much trouble in all our lives without us adding to each other's misery.

Why am I talking about all this today?

Well, I think about it every other day.

Just that I am not hesitating to put this in black and white today for fear of some women hating this post and subsequently me for some perceived story in their head that they don't have the courage to verify directly, but assume I've written about them...

And guess what, maybe I have.

Stay strong, and be real.


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