From running a company to running a country, a woman is almost always the second choice for management except when it comes to running a household. Every one of us is familiar with the age-old saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman”. But who decided women should always work backstage and never be at the forefront?
If we look at the corporate and political world right now, a lot of women can be seen stepping up and taking charge. But why did it take so long? Women got their right to vote 70 years ago in India; however, the number of female political leaders the country has seen is only a tiny percentage of the total number of male politicians we have.
Women are usually seen as the “wife of someone”. However, men are rarely seen as the “husband of someone”. Most times, when a man gets referred to as the “husband of Ms ABC”, his colleagues and society, in general, look down on him. If the wife earns more than the husband, it usually leads to ego clashes in the long run because the man finds it difficult to accept the fact that his female counterpart is more successful than him.
All these instances are so common that it has become a part of our daily life now. Anytime people see a female politician contesting the elections they automatically think “Oh, she’s not capable. I’m sure she only got here because of her looks or who her husband is”.
Where did this tremendously incorrect idea that women are not capable of running an organisation or institution stem from?
Almost the entire Indian population believes a woman can efficiently run a household. A lot of people believe that it should be their only aim in life. The only thing I want to say here is:
“If a woman can run a household smoothly, she can damn well run a country.”
Every Indian has a sense of brotherhood and this heightens in intensity when we see a fellow Indian reaching extremely successful positions in foreign countries. The past 2 weeks have been quite eventful for a few Indian women and women who are part Indian.
Everyone knows about Kamala Harris; the Vice-President-elect of the United States of America. Every Indian who cares about the U.S. elections had a sense of pride when they heard Joe Biden as the next President of the U.S.A.
If you take the case of Priyanca Radhakrishnan, member of parliament of New Zealand, a very similar reaction was seen, especially among Malayalis. Additionally, the 2020 U.S. elections also saw 6 Indian-American women winning seats in the senate.
All of these events stirred a sense of achievement and appreciation in most Indians. But why can’t we get a similar reaction when an Indian woman wins an election in her own country? She is easily overshadowed by her male counterparts even when she is more capable.
Do women automatically get more respect and admiration when they move out of their own country? Well, if that was the case, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be many females left in this country.
Apart from gender equality, there are a few other obvious economic benefits in employing women to head organisations and states. A study by Noland and Moran stated that firms that have no women on their senior management team are 15% less profitable than those in which women make up 30% of executives.
In the case of women in politics, there is established and growing evidence that women’s leadership in political decision-making processes improves them. Women demonstrate political leadership by working across party lines, even in the most politically combative environments. They focus on important issues of gender equality, such as the elimination of gender-based violence, parental leave and childcare, pensions, gender-equality laws, electoral reform, women-centric healthcare, etc.
According to a recent study by the United Nations, only three countries in the world have 50% or more women in parliament in single or lower houses. These countries are namely Rwanda, Cuba and Bolivia.
Furthermore, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 12 trillion dollars could be added to the world’s gross domestic product by 2025 through promoting gender equality/ the role of women in workplaces. Similarly, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics demonstrates that the presence of women in corporate management bodies can improve performance. Also, statistics from Dow Jones VentureSource show that having more female managers in a company creates value.
All these studies show that women can be extremely efficient with the right training. A lot of women are connoisseurs in cost-cutting without compromising the quality of the final product. This is often seen in our own houses where our moms efficiently reduce costs by choosing the most viable alternatives and using products to their maximum capacity.
Merely having a law that mandates women to occupy a certain percentage of positions in the government does not make a difference. Hence, society needs to encourage them. The positive effects of having a career in politics must be taught to young children, both girls and boys. Young girls need to be given platforms to state their opinions and make decisions.
Lastly, talented and educated women have to be encouraged to assume positions of power and gender discrimination in their workplace and the government needs to be dealt with seriously.