Cloud 9 Minus One


Women Are a Pain March 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sangeetamall @ 9:07 am
Tags: , , , ,

There’s a beautiful mall near my place, made more so by the presence of an all-woman staff in its parking lot. It warms the cockles of my heart to see so many women, smartly attired in uniforms of trousers, shirt and cap, manage an entire parking lot so efficiently. There are women security guards at the entrance of all the stores, women store attendants and women ushers in the movie theatre. What really moved me, however, was seeing women servers in restaurants, smartly attired females who took service orders and served as professionally as their male counterparts. Many, many years ago, when I was still a schoolgirl, an American fast food chain opened its outlet in Delhi. Its fame as an American fast food restaurant was only matched by its notoriety in having female servers. Everyone went ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ at the idea. The restaurant closed down eventually, and the fate of those servers isn’t known. Did they receive unwanted advances from male clients, I wondered. Did they get their bottoms pinched? How did they get used to the curious gazes of their guests, for whom the idea of a woman being a waiter was as scandalous as her being a sex-worker? Did their male co-workers look upon them as colleagues or oddities to be indulged, pampered but not respected?
But just as I was celebrating the thought of how far we had travelled in the last thirty years, a change not least due to modernisation and professionalization, I read in the newspaper a couple of days ago that a woman working in a pub in Gurgaon was pulled out of her taxi in the early hours of the morning by some men and gang-raped. That the criminals should be punished severely for such a ghastly crime goes without saying. What was odd, and put things in stark perspective for me, was the administration’s response to the incident. The Haryana administration declared that no woman should be allowed to work in restaurants and bars beyond eight o’clock at night. And I realised what an ivory tower I had been occupying all this while. Women are still treated as a dispensable part of the workforce in the main. Suppose all women go home at eight o’clock. Who’ll replace them? And if they’re so easily replaceable, does that mean that they are employed merely as sinecures? As eye candy? Are they not really servers? Are they just part of the decor? Is there no difference between that restaurant of thirty years ago, and today’s dining places?
The tangle of questions in my head needed to be sorted out slowly. I started with the assumption that women servers were there because the job did not distinguish between males and females, that one was as good as the other. This immediately led to the conclusion that women were a necessary part of the workforce, that they had an economic contribution to make that could not be emphasised enough. And this led me to the conclusion that businesses and the government were living on a different page not only where the economy is concerned, but also where society is concerned. It is the job of the government to provide security to its citizens, all its citizens. How does gender come into the equation?
As usual, the narrative in case of a rape is trotted out, that somehow the woman was at fault, that she ‘had it coming’. What was she doing out so late at night anyway? Why would she take up a job that involved such odd hours? It is with such red herrings that the administration chooses to divert our attention away from the main problem – that the police, responsible for the safety of the citizens, has abjectly failed to do its job, and rather than demanding measures from women, almost as though they were doing something illicit, they should get down to doing what they are supposed to – policing.


One Response to “Women Are a Pain”

  1. Dali Says:

    This is the “burkha syndrome”….looking at women = evil hence shroud them.
    I;ve always said – blindfold the men.
    And in Gurgaon, let the MEN stay at home after 8 pm – and do the chores – while she earns the bread

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s