When cultural beliefs are unhelpful in furthering women’s rights- Microsoft

I write this blog post as an Indian feminist who believes in inter-sectional feminism i.e we are not homogeneous and are multi-faceted. The logic behind inter-sectionalism lies in recognizing the dimensions of prejudice that women face so that the remit of female discrimination can be expanded as a means of finding solutions. Race and cultural beliefs are challenges to the one-size fits all feminist theories of past years.

 BUT, while I think that references to race and cultural beliefs are extremely imperative to understanding how women across the world live, dress and advocate I do object to the Indian belief system of ‘karma’ being used as a method of settling the dispute over a woman’s right to equal pay. As an Indian feminist I am sick of ‘karma’ being used all the time as a reason, excuse, explanation, call it what you will, for glossing over bad behaviour by men who really ought to know better.

The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, is causing waves today by stating that it was not ‘good karma’ for women to ask for a pay rise and that they should trust the system to grant them good wages. Hidden in his message is the same old Asian way of telling women to be subordinates, obedient, while their fate is decided for them by some mystical force. Scratch deeper and you will find that that force is not being operated by some divine being but by human beings on this earth who have all the power to make the work place a better environment for women but will not do so. 


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