Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Girls Outshine Boys - Again?!

Now that's a headline that never fails to bring a smile on my face. The board exam results are finally out, and the girls have, once again (and as always), outperformed the boys. Maintaining the result tradition, the overall pass percentage of girls this year is a whopping 86.93% versus a not-so-bad 77.83% pass percentage of boys. Oh, girls, you make me proud!

So here's my question. Despite always being more academically brilliant, more intuitive, more shrewd and outperforming boys incredibly, why aren't all these intelligent women gaining a foothold in their professional fields already? Why is the fairer sex still unable to carve a niche for themselves in the work field where it really matters?

Take a look at the top Indian companies today - every single one of them is headed by a male, with a few women in the upper echelon to probably offer 'consultation' or 'assistance'. Barring a few women like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Indra Nooyi, most Indian women are nowhere to be seen in the senior corporate forefront. And no, I'm not against dynamic men being the future leaders of our country, but it does irk me that the same girls who constantly outshine boys throughout their school and college days tend to take a backseat when they enter the professional field.

Is a major reason the fact that with time, priorities often change too? Within a few years in the industry, haggled parents are trying to get their working daughters married before they 'lose their beauty'. To escape nags and emotional blackmail threats, these women oblige. After marriage, factors like a husband, in-laws and children take precedence over everything for a woman, often causing her to take a backseat in her profession.

It becomes alright for a man to work late nights, for him to not be around at home spending time with his children, for him to be constantly busy, because after all, he is 'doing it for the family'. But when a woman faces similar conditions, she is called a bad wife and a bad mother. The society has shaped our ideals such a way that even women begin to believe this as true and often tend to lose out on opportunities.

I'm not against stay-at-home moms or women who voluntarily choose to give up their careers for their family, I think that's a wonderful thing to do. But I do believe it boils down to the fact that at some point in their lives, women do end up giving up their family or career in order to lead a suitable life that is acceptable to everyone. Trying to find that 'right balance between the two' almost never happens. But that's just my opinion. Could any woman out there pretty please prove me wrong?


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