Monday, May 09, 2011

How Would You React? II

I've been off the web for a while - apologies. Since I asked for your opinions, I should have responded earlier. Thank you all for sharing here; Apu - thanks for the prod - much needed :) and thanks IHM for tweeting this :)
And, here I go, without more ado:

1. At an interview to a single woman: When are you getting married? To a married woman: Are you planning a family in the near future?
No matter what, these are personal questions and has nothing to do with ones capability. This is as good as saying married women and pregnant women are not 'employable'! Every employee is bound to serve a notice period giving the organisation enough time to replace the loss. I don't see how this situation is any different.
D, to your comment - What if a male employee moves on to a better job? Attrition is something that any organisation, small or large, will have to cope with. The trend analysis will tell you to expect a certain percentage of attrition every year and the organisation should have plans to tackle it. Moreover, this question assumes that it is always the woman who moves/ quits after marriage - Not so anymore. I see a lot of men moving places/ jobs as they see fit.

2. Two male colleagues discussing the absence of another male colleague:
C1: "He left early (which was well past official timing anyway)... he had to take care of his kid"
C2: Looking surprised, "What does his wife do? Already henpecked is it!" sniggers

4. Male colleague sharing lunch that he had cooked. Another MC - "That's the plight of being married to a working woman"
A lot of men still think that it is sissy to change diapers, feed the toddlers, cook and run errands. So, it is more important to seem 'macho' than to be responsible and useful around your own home. It is as good as saying, "God, forget the brain but don't make me bald"!
PS: I have a feeling many men will resonate with that as well!!

Pooh - the best retort award for No-4 goes to you :D

3. At a ribbon cutting ceremony, a young woman is approached by a male colleague
MC: Making it sound like it is some great honor "We need a young woman like you to greet the chief guest .."(hold a tray and offer the scissors)
The irked young woman refuses and the man turns to another not so young woman in desperation. There are atleast 30 men - young and not so young at the ceremony!

KP, this one is for you.
In absolute terms, no, there's nothing wrong with holding the tray. However, this is not as simple as it seems. Have you ever seen a man holding the tray?
My peeve here is that women are perceived to be ornamental additions to such ceremonies where men hold serious offices. There were so many men at the ceremony - why weren't any of them approached? And how is it honorable for women if the same job is shameful for men?

5. Perception that women who drink/ smoke have 'loose morals'. On many occasions, I've heard comments such as, "She drinks and attends late night parties, so obviously...(men misbehave)"  And almost always it sounds like it is the woman's fault and not the man's.

DesiGirl - LOL!  **Hi-Fi** Best Comment award to you!
I can go on and on about this one but DesiGirl has just about put it in perspective. Quoting her comment here:

" Men drink and smoke DG hasn't seen them being sexually assaulted by women though often by other men. With the given logic, if a woman makes as much money as a man and has same level of education then she should be sexually assaulting drunk men. :)"

Only point where I disagree is - education or money has nothing to do with this. Just that the men have always drawn boundaries around women and if they step out of those boundaries, they are just 'asking for it'. And where are the boundaries for the men??!!

Another observation from KP - sharing it here:

this idea is perpetuated and drilled into the social psyche by movies and TV series. I dont need to tell you the number of times any female villain has been portrayed as a drinking/smoking and partying girl and the minute she is "rectified" she is shown as wearing a saree and bindi and being coy!


D said...

I would question men too about their marital status if men had applied for the said job. None have ever. Also, when you're a small enterprise, industry figures just don't apply. I've been on both sides of the table - work with a large media conglomerate now - and I know running your own set-up can't be done by the rule book.

starry eyed said...

Another thing is that women don't always leave only because of marriage or motherhood. One married woman I know left to devote more time to volunteer work, another mother because she had issues with the company, 2 others because of health issues and workplace harassment. And all these might apply to men too. It's always assumed a mother leaves for child-care reasons.

aparna said...

For a small set-up, I understand it can be difficult having employees leaving. On the other hand - the fact remains, men leave too - for other reasons than maternity, sure. For e.g. one could mention here that men are more likely to move for higher studies or if they get an offer abroad, which actually, women are less likely to do, being tied down by family! So, in a way, family also ensures women's stability. Nett nett - people leave for many reasons, with maternity being one of them. Asking women this question therefore makes no realistic difference to hiring decisions. In any case, what do you expect the woman to say? "Yes, I plan to start a family in the next 6 months and will quit asap?" If she really is planning that, but needs a job now, she is unlikely to tell you her plans!

and Uma - you need to format thos post. The difference in font hurts my delicate eyes :-)

Uma said...

D - I quite agree with Apu ...they might not tell you the truth if they suspect that it will affect their employability. And not all women / men who get married quit..

In any case, like I said before, it is a personal question. Employers have to keep out of that territory.

Starry - quite true. Men have just as many reasons to quit and why is it that only women are (mis)judged! Not fair!

Apu - I think I goofed up while doing cut-paste... :D
strangely my preview pane does not reveal this...