Last week, on 8 March--a date that comes with a one-day exclusive acknowledgement of gender equality at homes and workplace—an annual check on where women stand on the continued uphill battle for basic rights was done through opportunistic talks, panel discussions to hear the men talk (clearly, a rare opportunity) such as the one organised by Bangalore Life Science Cluster and armchair debates. While companies are still busy surprising women every year with a chocolate and pink décor on Women’s Day, gender equality remains a demand, not a right.
A recent survey by the dating app Bumble involving around 2,500 Indians showed a “reality gap” highlighting a difference between what people think and believe versus what they experience in real life. Among the participants, 32% of Gen Z said they feel equality between women and men is improving but women are still significantly behind.
Although 95% of respondents agreed on the definition of gender equality and that improving women’s rights makes the world a better place, 87% of women said that the age-old expectation, an albatross around their neck, is still the norm—they are the ones who have to compromise to ‘balance’ career, relationship and family, unlike men. Furthermore, childcare is still considered primarily a women’s job with 89% of women agreeing that inequalities in childcare role leads to inequality in career achievements.
Mother’s guilt continues to be yet another way to keep women bound to the home with 86% of women and 81% of male respondents revealing that mothers feel more guilty spending time at work to further their careers. Nearly 4 out 5 respondents also acknowledged that maternity leave negatively affects women’s careers--an issue that has remained in the acknowledgement phase for decades.
Lack of financial independence remains the major reason for women to stay in unhappy relationships with 86% of respondents stating it as a primary reason. Moreover, 87% of respondents also said social structures make women financially dependent on men.