Recently my company took all the 'ladies' to a one day conference
organized to (presumably) help them live their lives better, balance
work-life and the like.
A good initiative no doubt, it was done with the right intentions, spending a lot of time, effort and money in organizing the whole stuff in such a big way; but for various reasons I seem to have mixed feeling about it.
- I have never felt discriminated against at work, NEVER. I feel giving the women a day off, taking them to a 5 star hotel etc etc is in fact a reverse form of discrimination.
- All discrimination usually happen outside of the workplace - at home, in the family, on the streets, most certainly the movies, fix these if you can.
- It would be so appropriate to hold these sessions for the 'family', parents, in-laws and sensitize them to the fact that the women put as much (if not more) effort in their workplaces, as much as their sons so why not spare them some of the chores or encourage their sons to contribute some more.
- Another good way to change the whole setup would be to take all the 'managers' and sensitize/evaluate them so that they do not create a culture of discrimination - everything at the workplace flows from there. All the policies and good intentions come to a naught with a 'poor' manager.
- Maybe there is some merit in helping the women live better in the current situation; till the time bigger, broader, more permanent changes can happen.. somehow I didn't feel I wanted to be a part of it.
The good part of the whole exercise, I was (very appropriately) missed in the 'ladies' emailing list and got a good excuse to escape ... I have always felt that a 'lady' is an euphemism and glorification for renunciation of all the fun things in life. You are expected to conform to a particular way of speaking, walking, eating, dressing, living and need give up on most of the fun things ...