I think Gender class today was my favourite so far. We had presentations by some of my classmates on women they had met. These are women who work in the IT sector and belong primarily to the upper-middle class economic sections. The presentations involved details about their idea of work and the work atmosphere. The women were primarily migrant, keeping in line with the discussions we’ve been having over the last few classes. A number of things struck me. The idea of women working does not seem like a revolution to me. It is a right I expect and almost take for granted. I understand that they are rights that I have because they have been fought for and earned. In this taking for granted attitude I have, I have never considered many things. I was forced to think of them today.
Working women are not expected to send money home. The women I am speaking of are middle class and upper-middle class. If they earn and supplement family income, it is a bonus. It is never a requirement. Is this an advantage? Or does the lack of pressure on them mean they are seen as not important or capable of contributing to family financials?
Another thing that came across with the presentations was the male-female equations at the workplace. I would have assumed that colleagues became friends simply because of the time they spend together. I think I would. However, if the result of being genuinely friendly was that it was assumed I was easy or available, I might reconsider. Is this generation of workers still so chauvinistic that they cannot see women who do the same work that they do the same way they would see male colleagues. I also wonder how they react to a less feminine, more aggressive woman.
On that note, the feminine women is best suited for the pleasant, smiling, front-end job while the man does the rough stuff. I’ve always known this. My question, similar to one I had before, is about whether the idea that women cannot do heavy labour is what is keeping them away from it or is it the fact the that they keep away from it causing the idea?
The other interesting point was how in this logical, rationally-driven world of ours, old arguments about gender and sexuality are being reinforced. The idea of early marriage for women as a social study is now being endorsed on medical grounds. I have no fault with the science. I am sure the research is accurate. However, at a time when women are less likely to believe taboo and go by tradition, well-meaning relatives resort to science and the biology to coax women into marriage. Surprisingly, none of the women they spoke to today seem to be resisting the idea of marriage. Ingrained social norm?
Questions I am suddenly thinking about more deeply.