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INDIA FAR FROM ACHIEVING TRUE EQUALITY

INDIA FAR FROM ACHIEVING TRUE EQUALITY

INDIA FAR FROM ACHIEVING TRUE EQUALITY

Indian women march and protest for equality.

When we celebrate women’s equality day on August 26, we must pledge to end discrimination at home and offices. Gender equality is not just about money or respect, it goes beyond that

I was in a funk because I felt like I was not a good mom.” So said ace tennis champion Serena Williams, a woman whom we associate with great accomplishments, the power of privilege, relevance as a creator of wealth and a benchmark of individual excellence. Yet when it came to motherhood, she slipped into the perennial guilt syndrome of readjusting her life around her child despite the fact that she could afford an alternative support system, an extended family and the comfort of workarounds. Still she felt that the time she gave for her child was not enough.

Working women around the world are debating the same question as Serena and given the added issues of gender pay gap, the lack of paid maternity leave and the struggle to claim reproductive rights, they have decided to step off the ramp. A survey of 1,000 qualified women in Delhi/NCR found that only 18-34 per cent of married women continued working after having a child. Some other estimates indicate that nearly half of urban working women quit their jobs mid-career for maternity leave or to bring up children. In fact, the career dropout rate of urban educated women is higher than that of their rural counterparts in cases. Even in successful and high profile double income units, once the “achieving” threshold is crossed, it is the woman who is stepping back, succumbing to the genetically conditioned mindset of a nurturer and care-giver, giving the necessary thrust to the domestic economy as it were by some extra-constitutional power and then slipping back to the normalcy of expectation. In the process, women tend to strengthen the stereotype of a man as the bread-winner and an architect of a goal-oriented career. Though a man is equally responsible for fathering a child and is emotionally capable of being the protector, he has the mantle of a career performance lumped upon him. Even when mid-retiree women develop a sense of stability with their young ones growing up, they scarcely make it back to their original trajectory but take up some part-time ventures or develop a passion-oriented home business. “Women who have family support or can afford to pay for child care have a lot of guilt. This is because of social conditioning,” says leading businesswoman Anu Aga. The biggest decline in employment has been among two groups — illiterate women and post-graduates — according to a 2017 World Bank report. Most successful male CEOs have spouses who are complementary CEOs in home management. Yet given their multi-tasking and adaptive abilities, working women could give a boost to the country’s GDP by about 30 per cent if certain policies are in place and a mindset changes. Even when they have exited corporate jobs to forge out on their own, transit professionals have helmed  boutique enterprises and start-ups with handsome turnovers.

The first of the stereotypes begins at home. Without taking away credit from metrosexual men, “fathering” is yet to develop as a concept equivalent to “mothering,” the former limited to a biological function, the latter encompassing multiple and undefined role responsibilities. Even childless women are assigned the “mothering” role in team management roles at work. It is both prized and abused at the same time. Till mothers, and most of them are educated and enlightened enough today, tell both their sons and daughters that nurturing a life is genderless and a necessary and purposeful human activity, there will be no change in the home dynamics. Till the grandfather, who revels in child care simply because he is at home after a perceived “successful” career run, asks his son to pick up the tab at home, there won’t be a change in mindset. Till fathers spend an equal time with their kids, they will no longer complain that the children naturally gravitate towards mothers. Here is a factoid: Though mothers are intimately bound to the babies physiologically for nine months, dads can bond with them even before they are born as they recognise both parents’ voices from 32 weeks. As for skin-to-skin contact, warmth has no gender and the child recognises that first. Mothers, too, admittedly in their rush for perfection in role-playing, must cede that territorial space to fathers, who will be willing if allowed to. Also, emphasis should be laid on double parenting. Neither the mother, nor the father needs to step back. And there is no need to glorify what need not be a sacrifice, be it of a stay-at-home mother or a house-husband.

Next come workplace policies, which continue to be shaped by traditional mindsets. Malini Saba, a corporate herself, has found that on an average, women today earn just 78 cents for every dollar that men earn, an increase of only 17 cents on the dollar, and that pregnancy discrimination, more than guilt pangs, has pushed women out of the queue. Pregnancy taboos are the reason that most corporate women are bypassed for a promotion or a special project simply because employers think that a maternity break reduces the woman’s ability to maintain continuity of functions or bounce back to original efficiencies. Fact is, most new mothers, given the flexibility of home operations, manage not only to deliver but make the perfect pitch at the workplace when required to stand in. Career women are multitasking themselves, juggling between family chores and deadlines, an ability that empowers them with adaptability, innovation, change, fluidity and creativity, mantras that every corporate aspires for. Few employers realise that women, as much as they cherish moments with their new-born, do not want to give up what they have invested their self-worth in — their careers. The same pregnancy/motherhood concerns have become barriers for women in physically-oriented jobs like factory floors while there is some headway in the armed forces.

Yet for all demonstrable abilities, companies become sexist and archaic when it comes to the muscularity of a given role. They would rather employ a man in his 20s and 30s over a woman of the same age for fear of maternity leave and family roles. They usually think twice about hiring a woman with a child for a senior role, assuming she cannot give her 100 per per cent. If she works reduced hours, they tend to equate it with a financial cost to the company rather than counting the efficiency she packs in her limited hours or that she can be more productive if allowed a bit of flexibility. In fact, more women opt out of jobs because of the sluggishness of their career progression and the assumption that they will be passed over. They may be considered super operators but will always be a step behind the big chair. They yield to the unhappiness at work rather than the imperatives of home duties.

Most importantly, if all offices introduced child care services or crèches where mothers could check in on their young ones, the immense relief would automatically lead to more focus at work. We must realise that this is a tiny cost to pay considering that societally care-giving or home-making is an unpaid acknowledgement.

Couple this with balanced education; for example women continue to figure extremely low, not higher than 20 per cent, in engineering and other disciplines of merit and excellence. Far too many girls are still making a “manageable and practical” choice of humanities rather than tough specialties. We don’t need role models of women fighting against the odds and conquering the unthinkable in unheard of circumstances. We need everyday examples of girls challenging prescribed choices and mainstreaming themselves instead so that they can stand shoulder to shoulder on the factory floor.

It is a myth that a woman’s biological processes or a familial orientation is an impediment to a realization of her many talents. Women never bring their family issues to work because they have always had to prove they can do as much as a man if not better. Which is why they are more committed, sorted, detailed and specific. If corporate India wants to acquire the edge, then it must help rid mothers of their guilt syndrome, consider them assets and creators rather than liabilities and pro-creators.

Bullying Of Students: Here’s What To Do About It

Bullying Of Students: Here’s What To Do About It

Bullying Of Students: Here’s What To Do About It

Have you ever wondered what to do about being bullied?
This article will explain what it is and what we can do about it.

Our article also published on BW business India.

There are two types and four styles by which students can be bullied or can bully others. The two means of bullying include direct (e.g., by a student or a group or Adult who target less powerful students as the victim and that occurs in the presence of a targeted student) and indirect (e.g., mental prohibition from students groups or spreading rumors.

Can you recall the nursery jingle “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Observably that was not and is not the reality and can never be especially in the case of Bullying that takes place at schools. Bullying is a behavior that is purposeful and contains an imbalance of power or strength. It is a behavior that is physical, verbal, or relational. While boys may bully others by more physical means; girls often bully by social rejection. Bullying has been a part of the workplace and School for a long period. More recently through technology & social media bullying has extended its reach. Cyberbullying is the example which takes place online and via cell phones.

There are two types and four styles by which students can be bullied or can bully others. The two means of bullying include direct (e.g., by a student or a group or Adult who target less powerful students as the victim and that occurs in the presence of a targeted student) and indirect (e.g., mental prohibition from students groups or spreading rumors. In addition to these two modes, the four types of bullying include broad categories of physical, verbal, relational (e.g., efforts to harm the reputation or relationships of the targeted youth), and damage to property.

Occurrence

More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied according to a report from National Centre for Educational Statistics.

Most bullying happens in middle school. The most common kinds are verbal and social bullying.

83% of students who bully others online also bully others in person.

84% of students who were bullied online were also bullied in person.

Who are at Risk? 

Usually, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:

Professed as different from their peers, such as being underweight or overweight, having short height, wearing glasses or different clothing, new to a school, or being not able to have materials that kids consider as ‘Cool”.

Seen as weak or unable to protect themselves.

Depressed, concerned, Uneasy or with low self-esteem.

Failing an exam/class or securing fewer marks.

Less popular than others or like to live with the small group of friends.

Do not get along well with others or are generally punished by teachers.

Though, if a child has all these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that they will be bullied.

Where Bullying Occurs?

Bullying can happen at any number of places, situations, or locations. At times that place can be online or through a cell phone. Bullying that occurs using technology (including but not limited to cell phones, chat rooms, instant messaging, email, and social media posts) is considered electronic bullying and is viewed as a context or location.

Mostly Bullying takes place in the playgrounds, school buses, cafeteria, in restrooms, hallways, and locker rooms.

Disconnect Between Adults 

It is found that most often there is a disconnect between students and an adult understanding for a case of bullying. Adults often don’t know how to react when they do identify a case of bullying. Considerably only about 20 to 30% of students who are bullied inform adults about it.

Promising Prevention Strategies

Staff and students should try and notice when a child is bullied or left out during the games, Lunchtimes etc. This involves the efforts of everyone in the school environment—teachers, Principal, administrators, counselors, non-teaching staff (such as bus drivers, nurses, school resource officers, cafeteria workers, and school librarians), parents, seniors, and students. They should be trained in bullying anticipation and involvement and how to respond if they observe bullying & its prevention.

Also, a group can be formed to coordinate the school’s bullying prevention activities. The work of that group can be to motivate staff, students, and parents; prevent rules, policies, and activities; and ensure that the efforts continue over time. A student advisory group can be formed to focus on bullying prevention and provide valuable suggestions/ feedback to adults.

Bullying and Suicide

The relationship between Bullying and suicide is somehow coinciding in many cases in schools and colleges. Much psychological research says that bullying leads to isolation, depression, low self-esteem and in return suicidal behaviors is found in individuals. The major variety of people who are bullied do not become suicidal. Some youth, such as LGBTQ youth, are at increased risk for suicide tries even where bullying is not a factor.

Anti-bullying Laws

It is vital to be aware of the laws made to control bullying in India so that the problem is nipped in the bud.

 Laws in Schools

Former HRD minister formed a committee of experts to analyze Bullying in school and to prevent it. Following is the CBSE School Bullying Protection Law guide:-

If any student is found Bullying or ragging it will be given a written notice and can even result in rustication for that particular ward.

Putting a notice on Notice Board that if any students are found bullying will be liable for strict action

A Committee member to prevent bullying it shall include the vice principal, a senior teacher, doctor, counselor, parent-teacher representative, school management representative, and legal representative and peer educators.

Laws in Colleges

The government of India in order to stop/prevent bullying has created a guideline called “UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Education Institutions, 2009” which is applied to all the colleges or higher education institutions and are as follows:

FIR: The victim can avail thirteen provisions under Indian Penal Code and can register an FIR (first information report) in the police station under the area where the crime has taken place. The person can apply various Indian sections of Laws, such as:
Section 294– Obscene acts and songs
Section 339– Wrongful restraint
Section 340– Wrongful confinement
Section 341– Punishment for wrongful restraint
Section 342– Punishment for wrongful confinement
Section 506– Punishment for criminal intimidation

 Extreme Violence

When there is a case of extreme bullying or ragging that includes extreme violence:
Section 323– Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt
Section 324– Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means
Section 325– Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt
Section 326– Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means

 In a case where a victim has lost his/her life

Section 304– Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder
Section 306– Abetment of suicide
Section 307– Attempt to murder
Though, these UGC anti-ragging measures and the laws of IPC are not applied to schools.

 Cyber-bullying Laws

If the student is been a victim of cyberbullying it can file a complaint under the Indian Penal Code. Under the I.T. Act, 2000 the victim can apply for two kinds of offenses Section 67 of punishment of information which is obscene and breaches of confidentiality.