Human, Not Divine
Category : COVER STORY

I am not a votary of putting a price on home-making. The thrifty market cannot afford such expertise.

Do breastfeeding, caresses and warm hugs come with price tags? Aren’t they beyond money?

I am not a votary of putting a price on home-making. The thrifty market cannot afford such expertise.
Do breastfeeding, caresses and warm hugs come with price tags? Aren’t they beyond money?
I am not a fan of research papers and surveys tracking women’s leadership status. Not that they aren’t meticulous or painstaking – it’s the corporate nature of their lens that disinterests me. By harping on the broken rung, the glass ceiling and the glitzy highs of success, they inadvertently overlook the majority who are far removed from this world. Far removed from this centre are the rural, under-represented and underprivileged women, not to mention women of colour who can get whitewashed even as a vice-president! Clearly, the ‘fearless girl’ statue has more than just the bull to take on by its horns.
Odd as I may sound, women ‘as’ leaders is a misnomer, for women ‘are’ leaders. They lead even without trending, without being rewarded, without making money. If homes and families were on the Sensex, a woman’s multitasking prowess could fetch her a fortune. I am not a votary of putting a price on home-making. The thrifty market cannot afford such expertise. Do breastfeeding, caresses and warm hugs come with price tags? Aren’t they beyond money?
Domination as a leadership trait is on its way out. My belief, therefore, isn’t unfounded. Today, when stress levels are burgeoning, the whisper in corporate circles to involve more women as ‘leaders’ is interesting. Companies with women at the top experience what is termed as ‘innovation intensity’, according to Joe Carella, Assistant Dean at the University of Arizona. Companies with 30% female executives earn 6% points more in profits, according to a study carried out by Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington D.C. Harnessing women’s innate qualities of inclusiveness, perseverance and ability to manage crisis etc. can help the organisation rake in more profits. Simply put, her skills of running a family are being eyed to be put to good use.
For someone who contends that a woman holds the rolling pin with her heart, acknowledgement of feminine virtues as a powerhouse is not a watershed moment. She holds the scalpel with the same panache. The crux of the matter, therefore, is not waking up to her worth but in keeping eyes wide shut on her actual plight. It obviously is a hindrance to the celebration of her climb up the ladder.
It hurts to learn that women who carry the burden of care, make for 60% of the 82 million hungry people. Sadly, 2/3rd of the world’s 796 million illiterate people are women. Woefully, they own only 2% of the world’s property, according to the same study quoted above.
The bar of rape on the violence graph is on a constant climb with no broken rungs to hold it back. More humiliating than the numbers is the fact that 90% of the perpetrators are known to the victim. What more evidence of being taken for granted than the conviction rate of rapists that does not reach double digits?
All this, in a world that celebrates woman as a goddess. How genuine is the halo if its radiance dims in her actual life? Hyper-sexualisation and objectification of the female body dishonours every woman. Isn’t it shameful that the porn industry makes more than $97 billion annually, fuelling sexual violence against women to the extent of internalizing it as the norm? At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused. Does ‘women’s liberation’ exclude her basic security? Gory are the numbers of human trafficking for 70% of the enslaved people are women. Besides, no survey can gauge the true gravity of the crime, or render audible the silence and trauma of the victim.
In narrowing the lens on economic leadership, the everyday battles of such women get blurred. Women’s experiences of struggle and their empathetic qualities make them strong contenders for leadership. Their passion to empower women lends purpose, meaning and hope to so many lives. Women are street warriors strewn all over the world with little funding, leading an undeclared war that will fetch them no booty. These are stories that are too humdrum and commonplace to attract any TRP’s. Thankless it may seem, but never in vain. Their involvement ranges from consoling the victim to going after the perpetrators, from creating awareness to fighting it out legally, from shattering stereotypes to taking on the system. It could be the domestic help, the girl next door or the woman tilling fields. Women of power, knowledge and money, young and old. Blue, white and pink collars. All men and women who strongly feel for this cause and share this pain make this movement. Due credit to their resilience and fortitude.
In realising her worth and fighting to claim it, a woman leads for it is not served on a platter. If only the honour showered on her on altars and pedestals overflowed into her actual life, the world would be a better place, and women’s lives would look a lot different.
It is not worship that she yearns for. Just love, appreciation and honour.
All this, in a world that celebrates woman as a goddess. How genuine is the halo if its radiance dims in her actual life?

All this, in a world that celebrates woman as a goddess. How genuine is the halo if its radiance dims in her actual life?