'A woman's role here is sidelined'

'A woman's role here is sidelined'


'A woman's role here is sidelined'

Women here have it tough, say expatriates, on the occasion of
‘International Women’s Day’. One of the biggest culture shocks they have experienced in India is the differential treatment meted out to women contrary to what it
is back home.

Explaining that women here have to face challenges every step of the way, they share their thoughts and experiences with Metrolife.

Viviana Gonzalez, a musician from Colombia, moved
to India two years ago.

Taken aback at how women were sidelined in the field of music, Viviana says, “I was surprised at how male-dominated the scene was. Be it
as a vocalist or drummer, it’s mostly men who rule the roost. That’s not the way it
is in my country. What I gather is that a woman’s role here is always sidelined,”
feels Viviana. She adds, “In fact, many here look up to me.”

   Cintia Esmeralda, from Peru, who moved to the City seven years ago, recalls that the initial years were tough.

“It has been an eye-opening experience. Coming from an open society, I found the women here conservative. In fact earlier, I would even greet strangers. But when I started getting strange looks and even had some men stalking me,
I stopped. I honestly hadn’t expected such a rigid society,” she says.

Pointing out to the rising number of incidents against women, Dianne Cobb-Pennisi, a fitness instructor and belly-dancer from the USA, says, “I live here by myself and I must say it is very challenging. Everything I do is very well thought of. I never step out of the house without a plan of action. I ensure that I
return home at a particular time and don’t go out for a party unless I have a male
escort. But that’s not how I am in the West.”

 Dianne, who grew up in Africa, says that when she decided to move here, she knew what she was in for. However, she rues that “women don’t get as much
respect here when compared to the West”.

 “I’m fiercely independent and what irks me is that men don’t taken women seriously unless they are with a man,” says Dianne.

Jeanne-d’Arc Jabbour Rajagopal from Lebanon, who is married to an Indian, says that no amount of preparation can make one ready for India.

   “What takes me by surprise is that women are supposed to be goddesses but in reality, they are treated as second-class citizens,” says Jeanne, who runs a chain of restaurants in the City.

“I remember once, without informing me, one of my employees did not come to work for two weeks. When she came back, she kept pleading with me to retain her. I was shocked when she told me that she was locked in the bathroom for having reached home late from work oneday,” she says.

   “But despite all these incidents, we still feel welcomed in the country,” she adds.