• Under the Raintree Festival

'Unveiling the patriachy' by Padma Venkataraman

The board meeting was going swimmingly. And yet again, the eyes were on her breasts not her lips forget her mind, which was probably seven seas away from the lecherous. She did what she had to, did it well and picked up her things as it ended. “Oh Diane, could you come over to my office a little later please? I was thinking we could finish off the Peterson file?”

“Sure, I have a few things to finish, say around 7?”

This is a scenario often playing out in organisations big and small. There are few places where a woman can be a worker, a colleague without the constant reminders of her body parts. It becomes much like breathing that you are not even aware of.

Yes there are those that have and continue to navigate successfully through the quagmire of such patriarchy but even for them, the gender equations continue to be of great import. It is a sorry situation in this time and day that a woman cannot be taken seriously for the work, the talent and capabilities she brings to the table. A situation of course that is not unique or particular to women, it is equally true of the disabled, the homosexual and other so called under privileged. But for them, unlike women, they are showpieces to demonstrate inclusiveness. For women the circumstances dictate a whole other world of inequality.

It would be hard put to find a woman that hasn’t been through this rigmarole of nonsense no matter how high up the ladder she climbs. Because at the end of the day, there are always those assholes that are looking up her skirt as she climbs higher. Socio-cultural circumstances are happenstance, they have been around forever. Not that it makes it right anymore than the molestation of children or genocide. However, it is a given and women are simply expected to deal with it. A condition that has been passed on from generation to generation, mother to daughter. Which of us is not familiar with the old credo of whether the rose falls on the thorn or the other way around, it is always the woman that suffers? From sufferance to another level of suffrage, how many generations will continue to reel from this sort of assault that takes place in the form of insinuation, outright abuse and any other number of ways this happens.

So what is the solution to this? Unfortunately, there is no answer in sight and there is unlikely to be one because this goes beyond gender. This social inequality, much of what has been said and debated over the ages, written about and filmed is as old as good old Eve and as ingrained in men that it is second nature. It is akin to violence, it comes with the package of being human and is not going anywhere, ever. So whatever navigating women have to do have to be done within this circle of injustice. Do what you do and continue to question and fight the world order.

The glass ceiling is something to aspire for child they said

How high is it she wondered

Higher than the tallest mountain?

She tried and tried to the best of her ability

And every rung she climbed, the mountain got higher

Your breasts will get in the way child and your vagina

Is your best asset

Choices you will have to make

Make COO or more than that

Your client servicing skills will always demand

That you bend and bow and serve

NO she said, NEVER

I will be taken seriously for who I am

And what I can do

They laughed in the face of her earnestness

Poor fool, haven’t you read your fairytales princess?

The happily ever after is a myth if you don’t stay home

This is no place for you or will ever be

That is the only truth no matter how hard or how long you fight

This is how it is and how it will always be.

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