Be a strong woman!

I have heard and seen a lot in industry woman being paid less than men for the same jobs. I have also seen that men get promotions over women counterparts all the time. Even at home, women take on the responsibility of taking care of house, cleaning, cooking and taking care of the kids. How we get talked over by men all the time. We see more men in highly paid skills jobs than women, we see more men in higher education than woman. There seems to be a lot of gender discrimination in our homes and at work, doesn’t it?

Do we ever sit and think who is responsible for this gender discrimination? I have found an answer, it is women themselves. This statement could get in trouble but I want to be honest and share why I think that.

Being talked over by men — I have been in situations where I make a point and talking and no one pays attention but everyone is paying attention to the men. They don’t even care about my input, they don’t think I have anything of value to say. Now, I could blame that I am being discriminated by men. But here is the truth, I have experienced it from women and men both and in more cases from women. I have more examples of a women counterparts treating me less than man. The lesson here is for women. The women who treat other women less, know that you might end up in same situation and for women this happens to, stand-up. Take the lead, make your point. When someone is trying to talk over you or ignoring your inputs, make a point that its disrespectful and discriminatory to behave that way.

Being paid less than men — We are responsible for what we get paid. The company that posted the job or people who interviewed can’t decide how much you will get paid. Its up-to us. Remember those men who are being paid more asked for more. If they agreed for less, they would have been paid less. As women we don’t ask for more strongly. Also remember, people who sitting in hiring positions, the hiring manager, the HR folks, they are both men and women. Specially, one department in any industry with more women than men. If you are offered less than what you know your value is, don’t accept. At the same time, don’t value yourself less than men.

Not enough women in high paying jobs — There are lesser women in general at work compared to men. We see more women in teaching, human resource, nursing and some other profiles. Picking certain industry or profile is a choice women have made and there are few factors that lead to those decisions. One factor is family. Women try to be in profiles where they can balance between work and family. I am a software engineer. 12 years ago I saw a much lesser number of women at work than men. Technology specifically has very less number of woman compared to men. Its changing now and its a refreshing change. I remember an Asian co-worker called me into a meeting room and said, you only hangout with guys and it gives a wrong impression about you. I asked him, how many women do we have in this big org with almost 50 people, there were 3. One of those 3 women was in my team but left work at 4 PM to get home early to take care of kids and family. Women sacrifice the professional life for family all the time.

Women take on more responsibility at home — I won’t say its right or wrong. There are many women who do it because they love doing it but many do it because of social pressure. This is more common in Asian, Middle Eastern, South American and in African cultures. We get worried what would people say if we don’t spend enough time with our kids. We get worried what would people think if we didn’t cook for our kids and husband. We worry we would be labeled as bad mom, wife. We worry we would be labeled as bad housekeeper if we didn’t keep a clean house. Society doesn’t expect this from men, you know why, because men don’t care about it. Why do we think its only our responsibility? Why do we have to worry even if society labels us as bad mom, wife, housekeeper? Don’t care what people say or think about you. Do what works for you. Ask your partner to share the responsibilities, after-all its a partnership. In-fact think before having kids with someone, know for sure that they treat you equally and understand that household and kids are shared responsibilities. Again, stand-up for yourself even when it comes to family.

Be a strong women, fight for your right, value yourself, speak for yourself, don’t let anyone talk over you or undermine you.

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Gomti Mehta

I work at Microsoft as Azure Specialist. I have one boy. I love spending time in the gym, with my boy and work with my team and customers.