It is good to reserve seats for women in buses and trains if society so demands. (In many countries there is no such need).

In the practice of management, leaders need to gain the goodwill of their subordinates through a system that builds on consensus, when equity is the sine qua non. However, good management does aim at equitable decisions, not necessarily through equality.

Equity of all sections of people is the hallmark of good leadership. To ensure results across the organisation, managers seek to give out responsibilities but that does not mean equal rights. There is a qualitative difference here. Would equal representation in numbers make things equal, qualitatively? Should reservation or participation be the core criteria?

While protection and empowerment is required to erase imperfections, it should be done to foster healthy participation and not crass competition. At a time when Parliament is keenly awaiting the Women’s Reservation (33 per cent) Bill, it may be pertinent to dig a little deeper and understand the rationale behind all the enthusiasm.

Gender race?

With the changing role of the breadwinner, issues such as women’s economic liberation and independence have come to hog the headlines and have brought forth new laws and policies Certainly there should be no discrimination, given that liberty, freedom of thought and expression, etc, should be the hallmark of a just society.

Distortions should be dealt with. A confrontationist attitude is self-defeating. Reservation’s purpose should not be to get the better of the other. But these so-called rights activists should not forge to equate genders while removing social imperfections. Otherwise it’s headed for a battle and that’s futile.

A survey among wives in the U.S. revealed that when it comes to sharing household chores with their husbands, they preferred their men to be doing outside chores other than cooking and cleaning. Appreciate the differences and not just equate. If it’s about achievement, here’s a primer on women achievers. Leading nations where women excel are not in the western countries or countries where the per capita income is the highest. The Philippines tops the chart of high percentage of women achievers. India is also ahead of other rich nations. So what’s the reading? Why aren’t women joining the ranks of workaholics worldwide? Probably they are just fine not being like men.

The world renowned feminist Gloria Steinem who was in India sometime ago has spent over 30 years in the cause of the feminist movement. She has said that the core thought was not to overtake men but to be equal. Yes, a lot has been achieved in bringing about political, social and economic liberation, in seeing that the fairer sex has equal rights and opportunities in a free society.

But when the gender equation is carried too far to seek out self-serving gains, wonder if the two aren’t quite made for each other. We have women’s hockey, women’s football and mixed doubles and so on. Isn’t it nice to keep it that way?

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