Friday, August 12, 2005

With much reservation

This, and this, and this, is why I think, we need reservation.

Even as the judiciary is busy ruling out reservations in unaided educational institutions... even as the parliament hems, haws and figures out how to get rid of this pain-in-the-backside they call the women's reservation bill - I think we need to introduce reservation, for women, at least, in every sector.

Every institute. Every system of governance. Every force. Every organisation. Every service.

Not because women are wonderful and men are awful.
But because we live in a world where differences spell doom, way too often. Way too often, I'm reminded of the fact that if one needs such heavy-duty defence, there must be a war on, somewhere. This war of the sexes needs more ammunition for my side, as far as I'm concerned.

Because Anjali Gupta would not have had it so bad if some of the superiors judging her, were women. Or if they did judge her harshly, they would at least, not be blind to the fact that Anjali's story was theirs, give or take a date and place of incident.

Because I can't forget the liberation I feel, every time I see women at work - women at petrol pumps, women as security guards in stores (in Kathmandu), women driving tuk-tuks variations of our tempoo, Vikram, whatever-you-call-it, again, in Kathmandu), women driving buses and autos, women running roadside dhabas.

That, to me, seems to be the only way out. The only way half the human race will stop feeling entrenched, embattled.

And if the army and air force and police force had 50% reservation for women...
Manorama just might have been alive.


R. said...

Can't help but feel this post links two unrelated issues togather. Unwanted sexual advances resulting in a wrongful expulsion & a brutal rape are criminal acts. Not too sure how these two incidents would be avoided if there is a reservation for women.

Such things could be avoided in the future if the authorities took very strong and quick action now, creating a whistle-blower system (in the airforce)& took it seriously, hastening the legal process (and carrying out long pending legal reforms which no one ever bothers about) etc. In general they need to send out a strong message that they will clamp down very hard on future transgressions.

In my opinion, reservations generally work only in perfect conditions and look good if viewed macroscopically, in reality though they do end up causing some other inequalities in the system. In some ways, doesn't reservation looks like segregation? Instead the endeavour should be to provide a level playing field for everyone. Easier said than done but in the long run, equal opportunities is the way to go.

R. said...

p.s. do visit chennai, there are lady auto drivers, petrol pump assistants, security guards and atleast a couple of smart young women entrepreneurs running successful eating joints, all those you saw in kathmandu and vikram whatever-you-call-it. And there also is atleast one lady in town who successfully ran the largest government college (co education, with 6000 students and 350 staffmembers) in south india too. I am proud to call her mom :)

Neela said...

r, well said.

Annie, I don't quite agree on your solution (reservation everywhere) but I understand perfectly where you are coming from - economic and social independence for women.

But then, I ask myself (as a working woman) where are the role models for women in India among the upper classes today? Where are there no multitudes of women storming the bastions of elite institutions like IITs and IIMs, the corporate boardrooms and nuclear physics labs, taking up math and engineering, and other male dominated fields, choosing to work after marriage and children, and in general in any position of power today? Why indeed, is no one lamenting this?

Dilip D'Souza has a nice post today on how the elite can drive change in a country. Why, then, are our elite parents teaching their daughters that its ok to settle for anything but pushing their sons into breadwinning positions? (Rashmi Bansal had a nice post on this on her blog). Why are our elite husbands and male friends looking out for intelligent women but seem quite content to see these same intelligent women take up "part time" jobs or less intense jobs or give up working altogether when it comes to their own careers or when they become parents? And most of all, why do our elite women not put pressure on parents, friends, husbands about pursuing their own careers and climbing corporate or other ladders?

It makes me simmer when I hear tales of gender oppression and chauvinistic beliefs in our small towns and villages. But when I see gender stereotyping among our educated elite, it truly makes my blood boil.


Neela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Annie, people in power are people in power, regardless of their gender, caste or religion. And haven't we often noted that women are much more mean to women than a man is???

Neela said...


Here is the Rashmi bansal Post:

and here is dilip's post I was referring to:


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