Every afternoon between 1.30 and 2, a little drama is enacted in my office.
The working mothers (if not out on an assignment) grab a few minutes, however busy the schedule, and make a critical call.
A call to ensure the children have reached home safe from school, had finished their morning dabba, and are taking their lunch. In those few minutes minor admonishes, virtual hugs & kisses and instructions are also delivered.
Then it’s back to work, to meet deadlines and do the best one can.
You will rarely find the guys wasting time on making such inconsequential calls. Not for them the disturbance of routine to check on home or kids… they are dedicated career men you see. They’d rather use the ‘office’ time on other productive matters — there are axes to grind, politics to be played, cigarettes to be smoked.
Not for them the preoccupations of the ‘housewives’ parading as career women.
And as we women wind up for the day, having done all that is to be done, our disappearing backs are watched by disapproving pairs of eyes.
There goes the woman — home always a priority over warming the office chairs and ‘buddying’ at work!
We are not unaffected, we have merely learnt to take it in our stride — we, afterall, have lives to live outside (and despite) the work we do.
I know I’ve always been in a far more privileged position than most working women. I never cease to be thankful for that. My initiation into journalism was by a female boss, almost all of my workplaces, including the present, are women-friendly.
But the simple and sad truth remains that in the best of environments women will continue to be at the receiving end of sexist remarks. We will have to pick the battles we choose to fight. Some battles are best fought in silence. Some others with aggression. Every once in a while, we slip and fight it in anger — not the best approach, really.
I’ve always felt that men who are not married to working women should understand and appreciate our concerns better; the ones who grow up or live with working women may merely take it for granted.
Apparently, it doesn’t work that way and life IS simpler than that.
It is ironical that I even post this — as just days earlier my comment on madmomma was of a completely different tone.
As I said, the best of places sometimes house the worst of scenarios.
It riles you more than it should, because you know the sexist remarks don’t stem from even a remote truth; it is made all the same because it is an effective weapon to both make us feel insecure and to undermine who we are as a person and professional.