Where women inclusion went missing
On July 19, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was in the city to meet industrialists to discuss issues relating to skill development and employment for job seekers, who are already registered on the state government’s online portal.
After the CM’s address, managers and senior executives from big business houses were asked to give suggestions on creating a skilled workforce. Since there were representatives from more than 50 companies, only a select few got an opportunity to place their concerns about the dearth of skilled workers who have the competency to fit well in an era of technological advancements.
People talked about electric vehicles, blockchain, augmented reality and the necessity of creating a workforce that understands such issues. After almost half-an-hour of this men-to-men conversation, a female project manager from UNDP got a chance to speak. She raised the issue of the difficulties faced by young girls and women in going to skill development institutes and joining the workforce.
Having worked extensively with women in Bahadurgarh, she pointed out how young women face a lot of issues in commuting from their homes to skill development centres for work.
The assistance she sought from the CM was to provide better transportation facilities for women. On this, the CM’s response was not to look at the issue from the perspective of gender. The lady insisted when a woman heads out from her home for employment, situations are different for her compared to men who are looked upon as breadwinners of the family.
In my reporting assignments, I have come across the struggles of women both in rural, semi-rural and urban setup.
But somehow her words appeared familiar to me. Suddenly, I looked around and did not see a single women business leader or entrepreneur. I again looked carefully and realised that only men were there to provide suggestions.
It did surprise me that not even a single woman executive or an entrepreneur, who could have shown her leadership skills, was present on that occasion. And that one woman who highlighted the issue did not receive a satisfactory answer. A senior executive present at the meeting pointed towards the lack of women leadership within corporate organisations as well. Since most men occupied positions of power or owned companies, they usually took the lead in such meetings or conferences. Above all, according to him, nobody wants to miss a chance to meet the CM.
Time and again, policymakers have cited how important it is to promote women in the workforce for the better economic development of the country. However, I wonder how many years it will take to see an equal number of men and women sharing such a platform.