When you look at someone walking down the street or sipping by the coffee counter in that café, or your workplace, there is always that “first impression” formed about them in our subconscious mind. This has a lot to do with the ideological mindset that you come from. And this preconceived notion about the person is not necessarily a bad thing unless based off solely on their gender or sexuality. That usually manifests into negativity and unhealthy socio-culture.
We as a society tend to allocate gender roles to every individual without considering any external factors whatsoever. Now, this may help in a few aspects, but usually in a more typical sense results in an undesirable and unhealthy environment. For instance, consider a co-existing office scenario. Where both the genders work and dwell in a workspace and are given the same amount of work and pay. (well, hopefully. Because women have to deal with unequal pay for the same work many times)now a male individual is expected to do certain work based on his qualities (like lifting heavy equipment, physically intensive work, etc) and vice versa… But if there’s a situation where a woman maybe more capable of lifting the equipment, or the male is physically incapable, the goal is to have an office environment that is accepting and understanding of that.
“let’s acknowledge and embrace our differences, rather than ignoring or feeling threatened by them”.
To form timelines and understand the seriousness of the topic better, let’s categorize the subject into 2 topics:
- College and admissions
- Jobs and the workplace
1. College and admissions
“I had to convince my dad to get me admitted into this architecture school because I truly love the subject. He’s agreed to college on the condition of my marriage right after. Let’s hope for the best”
- Nishi, female architecture student (2nd semester), Gujarat, India
“So my family really expected me to pursue a professional career. But my passion does not lie there. I chose architecture instead of engineering because the latter is too mainstream”
- Daniel, male architecture student (5th semester), Bangalore, India
Gender roles form two very different paradigms in the educational dimension of things. The above two statements from architecture students help us understand the situation to some extent…
“An Indian household runs on expectations”
The women are expected to play by the rules, get married, and establish a personal life regardless of their desires or wants. The men, on the other hand, are labeled the bread earners of the family. It is their responsibility to feed and nurture the family they are a part of. Further forcing them to pursue subjects they are not interested in, and eventually leading a life of resentment and anger. Eventually affecting the women in their life. It’s a vicious cycle.
The topic goes way deeper than what’s on the surface.
- According to Unicef, “Around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, including 34.3 million primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age. In countries affected by conflict, girls are more than twice as likely to be out of school than girls living in non-affected countries”
- And according to National Crime Records Bureau; in 2015, 133,623 suicides were reported in India, of which 91,528 (68%) were by men, 42,088 were by women.
2. Jobs and the workplace
“I have been a part of this architectural firm for more than 6 years. and yet if someone new walks in, they automatically assume I’m not in a managing position because of my gender”
- Shaista, female senior architect, Mangalore, India
“sure, my color preferences and clothing are made fun of. But at least my pay is high”
- Rohan, Male fresher architect, Nagpur, India
The education spectrum of things carries forward into the workplace, convening a group of broken individuals performing mediocre work and going home to the same old household. This trend creates a series of problems in both the personal and professional lives of the persons.
- According to skillcrush.com, “less than 5% of CEOs at fortune 500 companies are women. And the number is further dipping.”
- According to skillcrush.com, “at least one-fourth of the women in the workplace experience sexual harassment”
- And according to the bureau of labor statistics, “in the fourth quarter of 2017, the median salary for men was $946 compared to $769, for women”
Needless to say, this article in no way shape or form intends to generalize or categorize anybody based on where they come from or what they are. The above opinions are based on facts and on-ground experience. And it is furthermore acknowledged and celebrated that things are taking a turn for the better. Women are outnumbering men in the educational institutions, there is an ongoing trend of acceptance and universality amongst men and women, and there is hope for a better tomorrow. This article was just another attempt to boost that process.