We all talk of gender equality, woman empowerment and female education; but how far it has achieved in reality? Coming this far, evolving, civilizing, modernizing; the lot of women is very less changed in reality. Though well educated, employed and marching ahead; like all other women, working women too faces a lot of challenges and problems.
To mark her identity, to be independent, to earn a living, to run her family or to support her husband run the family…; there are numerous reasons today women step out of their home, to work and to earn. Breaking off her traditional image of home maker, women today are taking up new roles and challenges of work and career.
A woman plays so many roles (of daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, mother…) and for ages has been a multi-tasker; one who cook food, does the domestic works, raises kids, and cares for everyone. She works 24X7, never complains and asks no remuneration.
Her tasks and challenges have increased and hardened multifold now when she is super multi-tasking; juggling between career, travelling, kitchen, kids, husband, house, society, personal health, passion and desires. Balancing between so many duties and obligations, a woman faces numerous challenges and problems every day, every time, and may be every second minute or second. Here a simplistic summary of what all a working woman has to face in her daily life, the challenges and the problems:
• Discrimination at Work. Discrimination starts at the very level of recruitment and interview, where recruiters/interviewers see women incompetent for challenging roles and ask questions like whether you would be able to continue after marriage ?
• Challenges to Safety, Life and Dignity. Sexual harassment, theft, molestation, eve-teasing, etc. are some of the forms of challenges working women face to their safety, life and dignity.
• Non-acceptance of Talent, Offered Disrespect! A woman going out to work in many societies in seen very lowly and questioned about her character/moral. A working woman who is beautiful or well-maintained or presentable or is friendly with everyone and is progressing in her career instead of being complimented is disrespected and disgusted; is questioned/remarked on her dignity and morals.
• Family Duties. In today’s modern era, even after working in the corporate world and after taking up challenging roles of executives/directors/marketing professional/IT professionals, etc.; the age old image of a woman of being a home-maker is not much changed. Even if she works, comes home tired/has to leave early for office; she is expected to cook food, take care of kids and all other household duties and the male counterparts may volunteer but they hold no responsibilities.
• Juggling Between Work, Home, Relationships and Personal Life. Amid all the dilemma and stretch of balancing the job responsibilities, following her passion, going ahead with her aspirations and looking after her family-kids-husband; a woman handles and balances a big lot of stress, which deprives her of peace, rest, sleep, independent though and luxury to be herself.
• Ego of Male Counterpart. One of the most tough to handle challenges is to manage and cope with the ego of your male counterpart as wife/partner. Males do support women to go out and work, but somewhere they find it hard to accept the progress and achievement of women whether she is his colleague or life partner.
• Inequality as in Provision of Opportunities in Terms of Job Responsibilities, Projects and Organizational Advancement. One of the most unfortunate challenges for women that they are subject to undergo at work despite all their qualifications, skills, talent, hard work and performance; is to be overlooked and low rated in comparison to their male colleagues. This is one reason, why many women have to settle down at less challenging jobs than their capabilities/talent, or get stuck at an irrelevant job/field or get stuck at one point of career with no opportunities for further growth, etc.
• Low Dignity and No Ownership of Her Own Earning. Mostly women are not seen as independent earners, who command respect and dignity. Instead is seen as a small back-wheel of a heavy vehicle and thus, her role and contribution is mostly over looked. In most of the families, especially middle class, upper middle class and lower middle class; it’s seen that the income of the woman either goes in the hands of her father or husband, rather than in her hands.
• Sexual Harassment! Every single day a woman when steps out, stays out whole day working while travelling, in office, in field, in canteen, in outdoor meetings…; directly/indirectly she is subjected to a lot of sexual abuses and harassment. It’s not always with hands she is hurt, but she is attacked and hurt with eyes, with tongue, with gestures and of course unfortunately physically. A few women wave off, ignore and move on; some disgust them to the very soul, out there is no way out so with tears or suppressed anger they move on; while some root off their dignity and even existence. To some women have to compromise, to some escape routes, while some compel them to revolt or break down. And it’s no less than a part of the working women, directly or indirectly, to a small and ignorant to large scale.