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Gender Equality: A View From India

Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


The author interviewed nine high-ranking businesswomen in India. The interviews gave him a different perspective on the question of gender equality. The argument for women’s participation is neither about the democratic principle of equal opportunity – in numerical terms, nor is it about making use of the full managerial talent available in the country/world. The present day solutions are based on these two woefully inadequate premises. When women do not participate at the highest levels it means our business world is losing an entire feminine perspective to imagination, ideation, planning, team work, empathy and strategic decision-making. However, today’s business-world and the various social systems – education, healthcare, legal and political systems - are not only male-dominated but are also male-designed. For a woman to compete and succeed, she may have at times to become more male than the males. Therefore, the words ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender neutrality’ could be misleading. Instead, women need ‘respect’ i.e. accepting them the way they are. Actually what we need to do is to create a world (economic, business, social and political) that utilizes the best of both masculine and feminine qualities, not just create ‘opportunities’ for women to excel in a man’s world. We need a complete overhaul of the social systems and we need to start at the basics – home and school.