By Muhammad Osama.
While hearing a song from a Bollywood movie Patiala House, I came across the thought of a great risk our society and the world faces that is of Gender Bias (Sexism) or a broader term to define it Gender Imbalance (Gender Inequality). These terms seem to be normal with the usage in daily life conversations and debates. But, what we fail to understand is that they are a growing virus crippling our society from the core. Weakening beliefs, faster paced lives, politically influenced views, educational and professional goals, social norms and threads, differently opinionated cultural and religious beliefs and above all the lack of belief in humanity has fueled gender Imbalance beyond control. Raging like a wildfire, consuming everything that comes in its way and vaporizing the most commonly felt human emotions, Sexism is the next big disease running through the veins of this society and the world in general.
History has it where corporations were flooded with men, and a woman working in such an environment was considered a social stigma. Today, the same society has turned the tables and considers working women as the pillars of the future. The plague that has gripped our nations is of whose better, men or women. An unseen competition has begun, where stepping over the others’ ambitions has become a normal practice just to prove the above. Women empowerment is now seen as a threat amongst the masculine side of the Gender division and vice versa.
So let’s talk about some official numbers, According to a press release by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the number of men in the country stand at 106,449,322 while the number of women are 101,314,780. The total population of Pakistan stands at 207,774,520. Meanwhile, there are 10,418 transgender in Pakistan. With these figures in mind, it can be seen that there is a natural balance in the population. However, the social abnormal conformities have caused additional pressures for both the sexes to win at proving who is better.
I would like to quote an American multicultural study from www.hbr.org, “A 2012 randomized, double-blind study gave science faculty at research-intensive universities the application materials of a fictitious student randomly assigned a male or female name, and found that both male and female faculty rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hirable than the woman with identical application materials. A 2014 study found that both men and women were twice as likely to hire a man for a job that required math.” The research further states that women have to go through several sorts of bias at work, such as:
- Where women have to prove themselves over and over again with their success discounted and their expertise questioned.
- Whereas, in my experience I see men being exploited with the same aspect in today’s workplace environments to keep them under the required pay scales and or authority.
- The Tightrope:
- Having expectations of women being feminine and should continue to do so while behaving with a masculine personality professionally.
- While in today’s world, I see men as being the bigger gossipers creating a similar attribute as that of women to fit in to a corporate culture or developing one.
- The Maternal Wall:
- With the responsibility of bearing a child and then being responsible to balance work and personal life, many women go through the heartbreak of losing career opportunities.
- As men had the ancestral responsibility of earning bread and butter for the family, they built-up the division of labor even in personal lives. Whereas, now as information becomes easier to access and with a greater power at hand of knowledge, men have started realizing the importance of the greater responsibility to emotionally and mentally stabilize their family as well, taking both personal and professional lives head-on.
- It is observed that women, who had to face the hardships of being in a male dominant environment, consider the younger women coming into their organization as their competition, thereby inflicting greater hardships on the younger women.
- In reality, not only women but everyone faces conflicting interests, professional jealousy and rivalry and ultimately have to deal with the insecurities of the employees who were there before them.
- Professionalism has been perceived as being synonymous to isolating oneself from their own emotional and spiritual side of their personalities while being in the workplace. Women, trying to act professionally, end up being aloof from the other co-workers to maintain their status-quo as an authoritative individual.
- With men it may vary, but, in most cases they have been seen to perform better in a similar form of environment. Whereas, teamwork has been promoted on a lot of level now a days.
The point worthy of highlighting in all of the above is that, it stands true that regardless of the weaknesses and strengths men and women are equal in their own way. Keeping the religious and cultural aspects aside, it should be considered that we all need to respect and earn respect as we would expect from others. Gender equality comes with sacrifice, patience and above all the circumstances of others.
Muhammad Osama is student of Master Student of Institute of Business Management (IOBM) and resident of Karachi, Pakistan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.