Nisha looked at the watch as she flipped through the papers while her fingers danced on the keyboard as fast as they could.
“Hey Nisha, Hitesh wants to see you,” informed Mitali.
“Oh! Ok,” exclaimed Nisha with a quick glance again at her watch.
She saved her file and paced towards her boss’s cabin.
“Yes Hitesh. Did you call for me?” she inquired as she entered the plush cabin.
“Nisha! Please come and have a seat,” Hitesh welcomed her warmly.
Nisha smiled at her boss as she pulled the chair.
“Nisha I will cut to the chase. You are aware that there is one VP position in the department,” Hitesh enquired.
“Yes sir. I am aware of that,” nodded Nisha.
“Now we know that you are a veteran in the company. You have been with us for last eight years and progressed steadily. I’m also quite happy with your commitment and diligence,” Hitesh continued.
“I’m truly grateful to you sir,” Nisha replied in a humble tone.
“However, the management is of the view that you would not be able to handle such a senior position as it would demand more time, effort and responsibility. Being a woman, you have obligation towards your family as well so we are not certain if it would be fair to burden you with additional charge,” announced Hitesh.
“I don’t understand Hitesh. You were praising me for my commitment and diligence a while ago and now you are saying that I don’t deserve this promotion because I’m a woman? I’m speechless. I didn’t know that gender was one of the most important criteria for this position. I always thought that work speaks for itself and it didn’t have a gender!” protested a hurt Nisha.
“I never meant to offend you Nisha but it’s just that senior roles require a lot of time and devotion and since you have two young children, you may find it challenging to balance the two roles with equal vigor. We feel Nitin might be more suitable for the role,” justified Hitesh, who had understood by now that he had struck the wrong chord.
“Hitesh, the only eligibility criteria should be my skills, my aptitude and my competence for the role. If being a woman hasn’t impacted my work till now, how can you presume that it will happen in future? Had you reasoned that I am not being offered the promotion because Nitin is more capable and will be more suitable for the role, I wouldn’t have felt upset. Rather I would have focused on my areas of improvement for my growth but I’m ashamed of spending eight crucial years in an environment that considers feminism as a weakness and fosters such discriminative thinking. This decision is so irrational and unreasonable!” screamed Nisha.
Hitesh was now feeling ashamed of himself and his company’s policies.
“Your rage is fully justified Nisha. At a personal level, I have never faced any issues with your work. Even when you take off for personal reasons, you never let it impact your deadlines. In fact, your team is also highly charged and motivated. I apologize for my words. I assure you that I will communicate your viewpoint as well as my feedback to the management. Please give me some time,” assured a good-hearted Hitesh.
“I trust you Hitesh and probably that was the reason for my astonishment. I never expected you to doubt my commitment,” clarified Nisha as she walked out of the room.
As she strolled towards her seat, she wondered, “Would I always have to struggle for my rights? Would I have to keep proving my worth at every junction? How can men have an easy way while women have to carve out and guard their way? Would my daughter also become a victim of gender bias when she grows up? Is it not my duty to offer my daughter a better world- a world that would stop weighing men and women on every parameter? A world that truly believed in #EachForEqual”
She hoped to have answers to these questions someday!