After thousands of years of subjugation and subordination under the male identity, women across the world are breaking the stereotypes and resetting the social equations to seek equal rights and responsibilities. The world is passing through an evolutionary transition phase of amazing transformation when women are coming forward to lead from the front, which was the monopoly of men just a few decades ago. This silent revolution, with empowerment and participation at the core, is changing the dynamics of socio-economic, demographic, behavioral and of course the financial equations.
The phase of transition is fundamentally changing the meaning of the word ‘Female’, where ‘Fe’ means ‘Iron’ and ‘Male’ means ‘muscles’. So, in modern society ‘Woman’ is no more just ‘woo a man’ but a separate identity independent of the baggage of male-subordination. Thanks to the advancement made in communication and networking technologies, women across the world are coming forward to unconditional the thousands of years of conditioning as ‘weaker gender’ or more respectable ‘better half’.
We see or read reports of the participation of women in activities that no one had imagined could be possible just a few decades ago. Several factors made it possible to start the transformation, but it is the development of the democratic world-order in the last 60-years that shaped and reshaped the mind to seek equality of rights in every sphere of life.
Just a few decades ago, the only role women had was to raise the children and look after the family and be subordinate to the superior male. Equality was nowhere in the scene as women were physically, mentally, socially and financially dependent on the male. This mindset was the root cause of the unconscious oppression. The democratic process ignited the spark of equality and today we see women everywhere inactive life playing the role of a game-changer in family, society, work-place, politics, and global stages. Isn’t it amazing that it took just a few decades to break this conditioning of male subordination? So, don’t be surprised if your next CEO is not a male but a female.
Frankly, no one knows what shape this phase of transformation will take as machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to make household management more efficient making more and more women free of day to day worries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s participation in the workforce increased from 39.9% in 1950 to 57% in 2016. It is likely to head towards 85% in the next decade or so. It is not as positive globally, but tech-push is likely to speed up the process.
The changing work culture and practices demand a new set of skills that are very natural to women as compared to men (Why does work culture matter? Find out here). The amazing skill of integration and cooperation makes women more fit for the jobs required to b executed in the hyper-connected and interdependent world. The natural traits of stability, consistency, and responsibility make them a better candidate for these roles. The adaptive and incubative qualities make them suitable for challenging roles in administration and business. The multi-tasking, flexibility, listening, and household management makes them a fit candidate for global home operations.
Changing Gender Dynamics in Modern Society
Now, it is beyond doubt that women’s empowerment is a reality. The long-held notion of the weaker sex is now broken and with an edge of emotional intelligence, equal if not superior ambitions, and of course the strength they are walking shoulder to shoulder with a male counterpart. The world is now ready to accept women in greater roles much beyond the stereotyped roles of mother, cooks, and house-maker.
With an anatomical gift of evolutionary survival chain, women are ready to play much bigger roles. They are making their presence felt more emphatically to prove their better candidature for all possible challenging roles. Change is happening and happening at the fast pace but the universality of empowerment is still a far cry. In several societies equality is still either forbidden or just on paper. It might take another decade or so to make it a success but it has been a nice journey so far.
Role Suitability and Gender
It is a fact that every job requires certain core skills and one needs to have training and experience of executing a particular task. But, gender cannot be the differentiator. Some roles suit males better as it requires physical strength and the system isn’t yet ready to prepare women for such roles. But, with evolving technology and mindset even those barriers will have to go way, sooner or later. The presence of women in combat roles is a perfect example of that. Administrative and legal rules are changing to equip women better in a better manner, but it might take some more time to make it perfectly equal. The rules should be more gender-flexible to accommodate women in better roles and positions.
Role of Women in Society & Economy
It is a financial dependency that makes all the difference when it comes to the empowerment of women. The behavior and mindset take time to change, but financial freedom makes it happen faster. In the post World War II era, women’s participation in the labor force changed drastically. It was not just the number but composition also changed drastically. This led to the economic boom and resulting push for higher participation and engagement. No country could grow if half of the demography remains out of the active economic activities. The Scandinavian model suggests that higher women’s participation leads to better efficiency and well-being. Although gates of all possible roles are open for women, gender discrimination in pay is an unfortunate reality.
Role of Women in Agronomy
You can say it unconscious prejudice. Despite the active participation of women in farm activities across all major cultures, society failed to appreciate the participation. We are still biased to link ‘farmer’ with males only. In agri-based economies like India, women’s participation in the active labor force is above 50% of the total. In some African societies, women lead from the front on the farm. A recent trend suggests that all the majority of farm-based economic activities have higher women participation, as this suits their role as a multitasker. Women of India made the country the number one producer of milk in just two decades.
Role of Women in Politics
From the late yet humble beginning of the right to vote in 1920, women in the U.S. slowly but steadily penetrated the male-dominated Congress. Now, they are the most powerful voice of the American political arena. It is not just American but global phenomena. Currently, women are at the top of the political system in several democracies. But, it is still far below the expected 50% participation. Women leaders are a better fit in the changing dynamics of democracies across the globe. Local and global issues require skills that are in favor of women leaders. In this era of hyper-networked two-way communication, women are a better fit to listen to voices and find solutions through humanistic approaches. Issues like climate change, inequality, green-economy, healthcare, family-care, etc. require better gender-sensitive handling.
Role of Women as Entrepreneurship
This is the most effective transformation happening across the globe. The penetration of the internet and mobile has helped several enthusiasts to learn business fundamentals and start their businesses. The biggest beneficiary of this tech advancement is the women of underdeveloped and developing economies. Skill improvement and financial inclusion have opened the vast opportunity for millions of housewives to try hand in earnings something extra through entrepreneurship. Thanks to the change in mindset, people are not just accepting but encouraging women entrepreneurs.
Recent data released by the Government of India shows that women constitute nearly 14% of the total entrepreneurship. A little over 8 million women entrepreneurs are huge, especially when this number was just hundreds a decade ago. This is happening and likely to gain momentum further. Challenges are there in skill development and gender-based financing, but it is a nice start.
With the advancement in technology like robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence women will have more free time to explore better opportunities. The entrepreneurship push is likely to change gender dynamics forever.
Role of Women in Family
Power, empowerment, freedom, rights, equality all are just meaningless words if you are not happy in exercising these values. We all love to lead a life as we wish and this gives immense satisfaction to try even harder. The ultimate goal of all our effort is happiness. The work-life imbalance is an unfortunate reality of modern society. It is not about the gender-specific physiological role of raising and upbringing children but finding the balance. Thanks to the progress made in communication technology, it is now possible to find a fine balance to lead a happy life. Maternity and paternity rules are now more flexible to share responsibilities and manage family values accordingly. Women are more like a CEO in the home front, the success of the families depend on women. Women are playing this role effectively since the beginning of human civilization and they will continue to do so more effectively with professional roles.
Dynamism is the key of socio-cultural evolution. As the trend suggests, gender barriers will get eliminated, so one should be mentally prepared to face behavioral changes. Equality is a relative concept, and the women empowerment movement will continue until the “male” benchmark remains. Play the game effectively and make room for others to play!