So I tweeted something yesterday on how the several women initiatives and forums floating around don’t make me feel special, instead make me feel marginalised.
And I got so many different perspectives on this topic from brilliant, female friends across social media.
While quite a few tended to agree with the statement and felt that these groups function on the principle of division rather than inclusion, there were a few who strongly felt the need for such groups.
This led to a rather engaging discussion on the post and apologies to those poor people who’d liked the post (cause I’m sure they didn’t appreciate the barrage of notifications that flooded their inbox with every single repartee
So here’s my two pence on the topic and I’d be really interested to know what you think.
Women’s forums might have been created with the objective of providing a meaningful platform to voice their concerns and opinions and give a platform to meet liked-minded people, but are often reduced to elaborate kitty parties where the agenda boasts of topics that have the gravitas of “How I managed to wash my hair despite being a woman”.
Its amazing how amazed everyone is when they see a successful woman is on display and talking about how she can manage a career even if she has kids. Because only aliens could pull such feats.
Now I do get the fact that this may inspire some people, but why then shout “Brava” in hushed tones in the furthest corner of the room? Why not do the chest beating bang in the middle of it, where the world could see it? Frankly, it’s a little bit like organising an Academy Award ceremony for your own family, which makes you feel great for sure but doesn’t count for much when you go into the real world.
The real world, is about celebrating the uniqueness we all bring onto the table and not isolate them. And I’m afraid thats what these groups don’t get.
Please stop celebrating my achievements just because I’m a woman.
Even if I fly to the moon, I don’t want people to say “…and she did it being a women”. No I want them to say “Damn, she went to the moon!”
I don’t feel empowered when you clap for me BECAUSE I was born a female. I do when you’re admiring my work. So can we please go easy on the dressing?
Gender, just like my religion, is NOT the qualifier I want to be lauded for. And maybe thats just me.
Huddling up all the women on a separate battlefield away from the rest of the world doesn’t prepares them for the reality of competing in this world. It probably gives them the illusion of being special to be able to do everyday tasks with accuracy even though they’re women, and in fact propagates the biases even further.
How does making it a men vs. women battle help?
Unless you’re working to bridge the gaps, like lobby for equal wages or opportunities, you’re not doing any good at all. And I’m afraid most of these groups or forums just end up mollycoddling the women rather than actually work on the real issues that may elevate their position in any way.
So lets call the boys to the party, shall we? Open up the doors to the whole world and discuss ‘people’ issues candidly? This is not a convent or a discussion on menstrual health. It’s about our careers, lives and ambitions and we need to throw away these divides.
We don’t need a support group for women, like for any other marginalized section of society. We need open debate and dialogue. And thats not happening till we open up to the world.