Working ’empowered’ women?

untitledI see a lot of glory associated with working women. We tend to take great pride when we have a women member working in our family and almost always equate it with women empowerment. Considering the state of other factors that add up to a society with empowered women, I guess an urban woman – who is unsafe on streets, has little freedom to chose her life partner, and has to pay huge dowry in order to get married – is anything but empowered! Don’t get me wrong. I am speaking strictly about the working urban middle class.

Aristotle believed women were somewhere between boys and men in their development. I have almost always disagreed with most things he has to offer, but no matter how wrong he was, he certainly has a point here. Not from a biological or evolutionary perspective, but from a social standpoint. Most women’s lack of self-awareness and the degree of their self denial is often extraordinary. Some women also think they can be men, or rather tell themselves they’re better and more productive than men by pursuing their careers. In George Carlin’s terms – “When did pointless careerism become a women thing? Putting on a man-tailored suit with shoulder pads, imitating all the worst behavior of men and take job at a criminal corporation that’s poisoning the environment and robbing customers out of their money. Isn’t there something noble they could do to be helping this planet heal?” Well, women do have higher creativity, commitment, and they bring a different perspective to most human activities. Why they fail to bring out better ways of directing these skills to make the world a better place, is beyond comprehension.

There are two working women I frequently interact with. My wife, and my maid. My wife is a software professional, in a respectable company and is earning good money. While my maid cleans the floor and does our dishes. Frankly I don’t see either of them feel empowered. My maid will choose to do only her dishes any day, over going house to house cleaning junk. My wife will rather teach children, or sit at home and read books. It’s ‘inflation’, and not the pursuit of empowerment that drives them both to work. Well, I guess, it has been a man’s world for a long long time, and it will take longer for the world to become sane. Thomas Moore in his celebrated book Utopia, encourages everyone to value leisure over work, and apply themselves to learning in this leisure time. I see everyone getting busier by the day. Having-no-time is the latest virtue. Earlier it was men. Now both sexes are a part of this endless race. Meanwhile, equating working women with empowerment is one of those gigs (like fashion, beauty and shopping) that we men have pulled off quite successfully on our better halves 😉

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4 responses to “Working ’empowered’ women?

  1. Nice piece!
    Absolutely true that equating working women with empowered women is so wrong.

    I felt more empowered not when I was working, but when I had the freedom to call it quits and stay at home twice as per my choice and situations in life and pursue my other interests.

    I felt more empowered not when I got a job within a month of going to Australia with a handsome package, but when I had the emotional intelligence and strength to flee from Aus, part ways with my ex-husband, a gay who hid that fact and married me, a person who subjected me to domestic violence with his own inferiority complex triggered. While my financial independence was a necessary factor for such a move, it wasn’t sufficient. It takes more than financial independence to be empowered.

    While a woman might have to strive for her own empowerment, the real empowerment happens when the society grows along with her to allow her to take her due. Else its not empowerment but only a perennial battle to get something that is rightfully theirs.

  2. It’s just excellent … I’ve read it in office so I may say something more on it (that I would like to share with you) when I’m at home … But you’re absolutely right … I found some parts of it more true than the other ones and I’ll mention them later but thank you so much … Everyday I come to my office and feel like I’ll leave this job very soon … I don’t feel myself empowered in any way … I’m doing my job only for money … What I feel is that one can feel oneself empowered only when one is knowledgeable enough to use one’s knowledge in one’s own work … I think I couldn’t explain it very clearly … What I mean is that one can feel empowered oneself in a job when one can connect one’s soul with one’s work but in a country like India it is just impossible for a common lady to get a job of her own choice … Moreover I’m not also very happy and satisfied with the education system which prepares us mostly as the participants of a rat race and in the process the soul is lost or dead … I never felt myself empowered in such an education system,rather helpless and restless … I think it is knowledge and emotional freedom that is to live a life of our own choice that can help us feel empowered rather than financial independence although I’m not denying the fact that money is a necessity to our lives but at the same time money doesn’t make me feel empowered if for earning money I’ve to die everyday and I’ve to forget the fact that once I also had a soul. I’m such a person that I prefer to engage myself in some research work but there is hardly any option available for me to continue with my studies because there is also competition and only scholars will get that chance.

  3. Rightly Said.. Women must go ahead and do what they really want to do, irrespective of the money involved. That’s what they do in the really good societies, like the Scandinavian countries and all. If economic growth was equal to a just society, then China would be a free country and Bhutan will have everyone working as slaves. Men are already dis-empowering themselves by becoming slaves of money. Women must avoid being a part of the same circus 🙂

  4. Agreed. Being a woman, I myself feel the same way. Economics and not empowerment is the reason women work today. All the rest of the nonsense is still there.

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