From the Viewsroom

Women can ‘command’, anywhere

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on February 07, 2020 Published on February 07, 2020

Their capability to hold important positions is well-established

You don’t have to look very far to see a woman commandeering her troops. It starts at home, where with a lot less fanfare, women have for ages run their households. That changed as they started going out and managing the workplace as well — often having to work twice as hard to not be labelled “unfit” for the job.

That, too, evolved as gender stereotypes blurred and paternity leave for dads of newborns became as much part of the discussion as maternity leave. In the midst of this melting pot of gender fluidity, it’s not just misogynistic but terribly regressive for the Centre to tell the Supreme Court in an ongoing case that women may not be accepted as commanders by the rank and file, who may be from a rural background.

But that’s where training comes in, to educate people to leave behind regressive and divisive baggage and treat everyone equally. The focus should be on getting the best person for the job. And that involves mapping the qualities required without indulging in the outdated men’s machismo versus women’s soft-skills discussions.

Within the realm of just politics and defence, India’s recent past has several examples; doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with their politics or decisions. Some of us have heard it from the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on his exchanges with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — both tough personalities. India has since had Pratibha Patil as President as well as Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister. So to exclude women from a top job is akin to setting the clock back many centuries.

Even as this gets discussed, Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja ‘Teacher’ is being hailed for rallying her troops and combating Coronavirus in the State. She had won much appreciation on her handling of the Nipah virus as well. Thus, women have been continuously proving themselves in critical situations and in positions of power. And yet, people still doubt whether they can commandeer the troops.

The writer is Deputy Editor with BusinessLine

Published on February 07, 2020
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