Every time I hear anecdotes about corporates celebrating International Women’s day, I cringe. Not to say acknowledging the day isn’t important. But somehow, its significance seems to have been lost. Random e-vouchers and gifts do little to make any real difference. Besides, sometimes, the nature of those gifts is nothing but a sexist assumption of what women actually want.
Let’s look at some really dumb things corporates actually do in the name of women’s day celebrations.
1. Organise a musical chair competition between women
Cos a stupid game would compensate for the pay gap for the same job & designation. According to the World Inequality Report 2022, men earn 82% of the labour income, whereas women earn 18% of it.
2. Update display picture on social media
Cos we need to look good on Instagram and LinkedIn, regardless of our toxic work environment for women.
3. Make a really flowery LinkedIn post. Probably the one broadcasted to office’s internal group
With lots of corporate whitewashing cos what better place than LinkedIn.
4. Send Amazon vouchers via mail
Basically, something you do when you don’t have a single clue about what to do. How about including menstrual leave policies instead? Or addressing workplace sexism? Or giving up asking women about family and kids in interviews?
5. Asking women to make ‘rangoli’ on women’s day
Cos let’s do something ALL women like. Right? Let’s take something conventionally associated with women and make a spectacle out of it so that they can enjoy their one ‘special’ day.
6. Flowers and cards
The commodification of women’s day has blurred its essence. We need to move beyond these hollow tokens of appreciation and address real-world problems. According to the LinkedIn Opportunity Index Report 2021, 85% of Indian working women claim to have missed out on promotion, raise, and opportunities because of their gender.
7. Distribute chocolate-bars to ‘sweet’ women for their sweet-tooth
Cos pick something supremely cliché and do the bare minimum on this special day.
8. Gift random goodies, like makeup, women’s day cups, & things that are awfully pink
What are we supposed to feel? Gratitude?
9. Gift home decor items & kitchen appliances
The ridiculous idea that women like to be gifted kitchen appliances and home decor items products springs from the concept of traditional gender roles. All this does is spread a message that household responsibilities are a woman’s domain and it sucks.
10. Bland panel discussions meant to reiterate how MUCH the company values women
Mandatory attendance makes it worse.
11. Organising a mandatory party where women are given mementoes as a token of appreciation
And then those pictures would be flooded on social media. You might even be asked to tag the company cos it’s all about a few likes and followers in the end.
12. Ask women to make speeches about women in corporates
And sing praises of the work culture in the company and nothing else.
13. Force women to make Instagram reels to trend on social media
I feel like women’s day has become more of a marketing gimmick for corporates to sing the song of ‘We Care,’ when the reality is something else altogether.
Thanks for the acknowledgement. But when you’re doing these things just cos you have to when your way of working is non-inclusive, and you’re not addressing any real world problems, it’s not much of a help!