As I read about RK Pauchauri being reinstated in TERI and simultaneously another complaint of sexual harassment being levied against him, somehow I cannot help remembering the wise words of my grandmother, many moons ago. She would often say, Women’s rights, respect for women is more about women coming to terms with her freedom. For a woman who dared the social construct and earned a Matric degree at a time when even women looking at books was scoffed at, I knew there was mettle and substance in what she said. But I would be baffled nevertheless! Suddenly one look at the list of Board Of Directors for TERI made it all crystal clear for me.
Of the 9 board members, there are 3 women, all very established, erudite and well educated. I am sure that they did have a role to play in the reinstatement of RK Pachauri as Executive Vice Chairman, a post specially created for him! Why was he not suspended for this offence? Why was he brought back? So what does it indicate? Does it mean that if the wrong-doer is in power, they can make a mockery of the country’s judicial system? Does it mean that women on top don’t care what happens to their fellow colleagues? Does it mean that those women in power do not even want to take a baby step towards making the work place safer for other women?
Not only in this recent case against Pachauri, the role of women in making this country a safer and happier place has come under scrutiny like never before! Even if you try and track development of cases of sexual assault outrage and oppression against women, how many times do we see the women coming out in open supporting the one who is being oppressed. If the oppressor is a relative, most women will shy away in the name of bring shame to the ‘family’. In many cases the mother herself refuses action to save the distraught daughter. We have enough evidence of the kind of unimaginable trauma that a daughter-in-law is subjected by the mother-in-law or the sisters-in-law. The situation is no different in the corporate world either if we closely scrutinise their role.
And again my grandmother’s words keep buzzing in my mind, ‘for a woman to get respect, for a woman to enjoy her right, it is the women who need to awake and act!” So tomorrow when you read a rape case or another instance of sexual oppression, rise above your ‘Ooh, Aah, Ouch’ and try and take a constructive step towards change. Only then a Change will dawn on women.