Gender bias is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is a form of unconscious bias, or implicit bias, which occurs when one individual unconsciously attributes certain attitudes and stereotypes to another person or group of people.
Gender Bias Summary
Gender Bias Summary in English
In this essay, the writer Sudha Murthy describes how she got a job which had been advertised only for men. It was in 1974. Sudha Murthy was in the final year of her M.Tech. course at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
At that time, this institute was known as the Tata Institute. It was a co-ed college. Sudha stayed at the ladies’ hostel in Bangalore. She was very bright at studies. She was the only girl in her postgraduate department.
Sudha wanted to go abroad to study for her doctorate in computer science. In fact, she was offered scholarship from universities in the U.S. Moreover, she had not thought of taking up any job in India. But there was something different in store for her.
One day, she saw an advertisement on the noticeboard of her college. It was about a job requirement from the famous automobile company named Telco, which is now known as Tata Motors. The company required young and hard-working engineers with an excellent academic background.
But Sudha became very upset when she read a line at the bottom of the advertisement. It said : “Lady candidates need not apply.” She was quite surprised to find such a big company discriminating on the basis of gender.
Though Sudha was not at all interested in getting that job, she took it as a challenge. She had always been par excellence in academics and in M.Tech. She had done better than most of her male classmates. So she decided to apply for the job and also inform the highest official in Telco’s management about the injustice that Telco company was doing. But there was a problem. Sudha didn’t know who headed Telco.
She had seen the pictures of Mr JRD Tata in newspapers and magazines. So she thought Mr JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group. But, in fact, Sumant Moolgaokar was the chairman of the company at that time. However, Sudha wrote a letter to Mr JRD Tata, saying, “The great Tatas have always been pioneers.
They started the basic infrastructure industries in India. They cared for higher education in India and so they established the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.” She further wrote, “Fortunately, I study in this institute. But I am shocked to find such a huge company Telco discriminating on the basis of gender.”
About ten days after posting the letter, Sudha received a telegram from Telco. She was asked to appear for an interview at Telco’s Pune office. She was called there at the company’s expense. It was a big surprise for Sudha. She was not at all prepared for this. But her hostel mates asked her to make use of the opportunity of going to Pune free of cost.
They also asked her to buy them famous Pune sarees for cheap. And each girl who wanted a Pune sari paid its price to Sudha in advance. When Sudha reached Pune, she went to Telco’s Pimpri office as directed. There she was to appear for the interview. On the interview panel, there were six people. As Sudha entered the room, she heard a whisper, “This is the girl who wrote to Mr JRD.” It made Sudha sure
that she would not get this job. This realization abolished all fears from her mind and she became rather cool during the interview. Even before the interview started, she had the opinion that the panel was still biased on the basis of gender. So she said to the panel, “I hope this is only a technical interview.” They were taken aback at her rudeness. However, they asked her technical questions. And Sudha gave right answers to all the questions.
Then an elderly gentleman of the panel asked her very affectionately, “Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply?” He told her that they had never before employed any ladies on the shop floor. He further said, “This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory.”
At this Sudha said, “But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.” Finally, Sudha remained successful in the interview and got a job in Pune.
After joining Telco, now Sudha realized who Mr JRD was : the uncrowned king of Indian industry. However, she couldn’t meet Mr JRD till she was transferred to Mumbai. One day, Sudha had to show some reports to the chairman, Mr Moolgaokar.
She went to his office. Suddenly Mr JRD too came there. It was the first time that she met Mr JRD Tata. Mr Moolgaokar introduced her to Mr JRD saying, “She is the first woman to work on the Telco’s shop floor.”
Gender Bias Translation in English
Sudha Murthy (b. 1950,) is a well-known social worker and author. She is renowned for her noble mission of providing computer and library facilities in all government schools of Karnataka. Her stories deal with the lives of common people and social issues.
After a degree in electrical engineering from Hubli, Sudha Murthy went on to do an M. Tech. in computer Science from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In 2006, she was a warded the Padma Shri. She is the chairperson
of Infosys Foundation and has successfully implemented various projects relating to poverty alleviationfi, education and health. This essay is an extract from the collection of Stories, ‘How I Taught My Grandmother to Read’.
The book is a collection of twenty-five heart-warming stories from the life of the author, Sudha Murthy. In this particular essay, the writer describes how she applied for and got a job that had been advertised solely for men. When she was in the final year of the M. Tech course at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Sudha Murthy came across an advertisement for a job at Telco in Pune. What caught her attention with regard to the advertisement was the line‘Lady candidates need not apply.
She not only applied for the job, taking it as a challenge, but also wrote a postcard to Mr JRD Tata conveying her displeasure at the discrimination against women.Sudha Murthy was surprised to be called for the interview. She was sure she would not be selected and hence was cool.
At the interview, she was told that women were not selected as they would find it difficult to work on the shop floor. However, this did not deter Sudha Murthy and she said that a beginning had to be made sometimes and somewhere.
Sudha Murthy was offered the job. Later, she met Mr JRD Tata, who said that he was happy that women were becoming engineers. Thanks to the perseverance of Sudha Murthy, women engineers have become very common in todays world and are employed in factories. It was long time ago. I was young and bright, bold and idealistic. I was in the
final year of my master’s course in computer science at the Indian Institute of Science [IISc] in Bangalore, then known as the Tata Institute. Life was full of fun and joy. I did not know what helplessness or injustice meant. It was probably the April of 1974.
Gender Bias essay
Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies’ hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of science. I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science.
I had been offered scholarship from universities in the U.S. I had not thought of taking up a job in India. One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors).
It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hard working and with an excellent academic background, etc. At the bottom was a small line : “Lady candidates need not apply.” I read it and was very upset. For the first time in life I was up against gender discrimination.
Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers . Little did I know then that in real life
started to write, but there was a problem : I did not know who headed Telco ! I thought it must be one of the Tatas, I knew Mr JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers. (Actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company’s chairman then.)
I took the card, addressed it to Mr JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote. “The great Tatas have always been pioneers.
They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives’. They have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science.
Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.” I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco’s Pune office at the company’s expense. I was taken aback by the telegram.
My hostelmates told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap. I collected Rs. 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari. When I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip. It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city.
To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to Telco’s Pimpri office for the interview. There were six people
the panel and I realized then that this was a serious business.“This is the girl who wrote to Mr JRD,” I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realization abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted. Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, “I hope this is only a technical interview.”
Summary of Gender Bias
They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude6. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them. Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, “Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply ? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor.
This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.”
I was a young girl from a small town, Hubli. My world had been a limited place. I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, “But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.” Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the
future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married. It was only after joining Telco that I realized who Mr JRD was : the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared’, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM.
I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House when, suddenly Mr JRD walked in . That was the first time I saw “appro JRD”. ‘Appro’ means “our” in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him. I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode.
SM introduced me nicely, “Jeh (that’s what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.” Mr JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any question about my interview (or the postcard that preceded9 it).
Close to 50 percent of the students in todays engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of Mr JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish Mr JRD were alive today to see how the company he started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.
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