#FeministMondays | Why Don’t Women Make The Cut When Projects Are Being Downsized?

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The global IT scene these days isn’t very rosy. Now how much of it is due to Trump is something I leave up to the experts to discuss. For me, the day to day changes that I see and their effects are more relevant. And that’s what has led to this post.


In the last couple of months, several projects have been downsized to keep up with the changing dynamics in the IT Industry. It’s not that these things didn’t happen before. But now they are noticed more and cause more of a worry to all. Or, let’s just say they are now only seen through the lens of turmoil in the industry. Anyways. While on the point of downsizing, let me relate a very recent incident to you.


A woman was told she had so many ‘additional commitments‘ that they thought it was better to release her from the project. So, not because she wasn’t good at what she did or was a troublemaker at work, she was released because she had the ‘additional responsibility of being a mother‘.


A couple of months back I got acquainted with a woman at work. We got talking and found out that we both were sort of in similar situations. She too had a daughter whom she had to leave at home every day while she came to work. There were days when she would also wonder, like me, if this sacrifice of being away from her little one was actually worth it. Every day she would walk into work around 8 to 8:30 am. Also, just like me. She would even have lunch at her desk to save time because she too had to finish her work and rush off home by 5 or 6 in the evening. In fact, she was just like thousands of other working mothers who don’t take breaks in order to fulfil their professional commitments within strict timelines. She was like every working mum who lives from one task to another just to go home in time to be with her kids. She was sincere and hardworking but in the end that didn’t matter, did it?


The project she was working on was suddenly downsized. And the superiors decided to keep her male peer in the team instead of her. Why? Well, because she had so many ‘additional commitments’ that they thought it was better to release her from the project. So, not because she wasn’t good at what she did or was a troublemaker at work, she was released because she had the ‘additional responsibility of being a mother’.


The glass ceiling still hasn't been shattered adequately for all women to make it through to the… Click To Tweet


Tell me if that is fair? I think not. Merit isn’t a bother when it comes to choosing between a man and a woman. Yes, even today. Then there are those people who still think talking about gender equality is an overreaction. Just because you haven’t faced gender bias at work doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist is what I always tell them. But it’s exasperating nonetheless.


Motherhood is seen as a negative quality for a working woman. It is the elephant in the room that employers don’t talk about but make decisions based on.


The problem is it is men who are almost always the decision makers everywhere. The glass ceiling still hasn’t been shattered adequately for all women to make it through to the other side without their every step being thwarted. Those that have almost always forget to reach out through the cracks and pull up more women. In their efforts to blend in with the men around them, who are almost always in the overwhelming majority, they forget that they could change the dynamics by being a mentor to other women. Till women at higher positions don’t take it upon themselves to do something about this imbalance of power, more women will not be able to make the cut when a project is being downsized or a company is considering layoffs.


Tell me, do you know a woman who has faced a similar situation? What would you do if you were in her place?




This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.

Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.




Linking to #mg hosted by Mackenzie Glanville


15 thoughts on “#FeministMondays | Why Don’t Women Make The Cut When Projects Are Being Downsized?

  1. Oh yes I do know someone like this. She was working at a prestigious private company and when they were laying off people she was made to quit because her seniors felt she wouldn’t be able to travel like her male counterpart who was chosen for the job, despite not being good enough. What irked me was they didn’t even bother to ask her – they just assumed it. And she got to know of it unofficially from her boss. And the best bit – the person who was chosen instead of her was found not-good-enough and thrown out within a month.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…The trouble with being a good girlMy Profile

  2. I feel so very sad about this, Naba. I know it is true. As a matter of fact, a woman colleague announced that she was getting married and a lot of people asked whether she was quitting working. That’s how a woman’s career perception goes. And a lot of times, her work is cut back or she is laid off based on perceptions. Oh, she won’t be able to travel. She will need more sick days etc.

    Ideally, merit should be decisive but for that you should have a progressive boss and management.
    Rachna recently posted…Respect is Earned Not DemandedMy Profile

  3. One step behind you, I’m childfree atm and I’m still treated as someone with no ambition, someone who is just “doing time pass till she has a baby.”

    I walk in at 8 and walk out at 5 but the condescending tone taken to say “oh, she has to go back home to her husband, don’t give her that ad hoc task” (the task that came up this late in the day because whoever chose to saunter in at 12 p.m. into office) makes me want to pull my hair out. I was given a lower rating than a male colleague because apparently, he has more time to dedicate to work – he comes to work at 8 and leaves at 8 in the night and spends ten hours in between socializing and going on smoke breaks.

    At this rate, I’m going bald very soon.
    CookieCrumbsInc. recently posted…Chapter 53My Profile

  4. The only solution I can think of is if companies incorporate a supportive gender parity policy. Enable promotions on merit and not on gender. This has to start at the top though. Not much we can do at the grassroots level unfortunately. And going by how much time it has taken for this to even be a matter of concern, I am worried if this will happen at all in our lifetime. Having a women-centric workforce is another option but that doesn’t seem either practical or a long-term solution. We need people who are understanding of the challenges and help us thrive and grow together. Too much to hope for?
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Surprise Party for a Tween: What I learntMy Profile

  5. It must be such a sad situation for women who get sidelined because of their gender. Sad, and exasperating. And, what can one really do, except rebel, and is the rebellion going to be of any help? Doing away with gender bias needs to be given utmost importance, but sadly, in a patriarchal society like ours, I think it’s a distant dream. 🙁
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…MOM – Film Review.My Profile

  6. It happens everywhere irrespective of the industry. I come from publishing and I hate to say this that things are exactly the same or even worse there. The reason, the people at the top are mostly the ones with patriarchal mindset. How can a woman be made to manage others? How can a woman earn more than her male counterpart? I know from personal experience how the equation of a female colleague used to change the moment she announced her marriage or pregnancy. It didn’t matter that the efforts by her multiplied and the results were visible. What mattered was that she’ll soon have additional priorities and won’t be capable of performing well. It’s really crazy. As you mentioned, the women at the top too are party to this. Sad, but true. 🙁
    Rekha recently posted…#MythicalMondays – Aravan/Iravan: The God of the TransgendersMy Profile

  7. Men and women in power positions need to remember their mother’s .Both need to help sincere hard working meritorious women in work place .Unfortunately glass ceilings and elephants not withstanding we still carry on.And we must carry on and try to make the world more helpful towards women .If not for ourselves but for our daughters .It’s important you carry on working if your daughter is safe and well cared for .That’s important to make her understand the why .
    Amrita recently posted…Hopes and wishes for my daughter:#MondayMommyMoments 28My Profile

  8. This makes me feel so sad. Although I haven’t experienced something like this myself, I have seen many other women get the sack just because of their gender. Especially women who are recently married or are a recent parent. There is an automatic assumption that these women have extra chores and will not be able to handle work effectively.

    I am a part of a tech panel at work and there are men and women in the panel who still think twice before offering a post to a woman. The general assumption is that he’s a guy, so he has nothing else to do except office work, so he’ll work. Trust me, I’ve heard this first hand.
    Soumya recently posted…#FeministMondays | Let’s Start At The Very BeginningMy Profile

  9. I’ve been lucky to not have faced any gender discrimination at work. But one that I have noticed, and that is the women who have got on top with hard work, determination and sacrifice. Instead of working to change the system and put in more women-friendly policies, they want women to be more like “one of the boys”. I don’t think that’s the right attitude to adopt, though! Which is probably one of the reasons why gender discrimination is still rampant.
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…Anything but booksMy Profile

  10. I am all for gender equality. There should be equality in all spheres. What about the laws in India which are heavily biased towards the female. Laws like 498a, DV are misused day and night. Families are wrecked and people are committing suicide. Just on verbal complaint someone is booked. Do you see the other side of the coin?

  11. Sad but true. I wonder what can be done about this. Having said this, I’ve seen a lot of women heading or at close to the top in companies I’ve worked in. In my banking career, my boss reported to Naina Lal Kidwai when she was a regional manager for a small division of the bank and had a young child. Look where she is today. Perhaps it made a difference that it was an international bank?

  12. How infuriating. I’ve been asked in a couple of job interviews if there was any reason why I wouldn’t be able to travel internationally. It was a subtle, but legal, way of asking if I had children. I always made them aware I knew what they were asking. Talking about “other commitments” is a similar fudging of words, when we all know what they mean.

    I also think that so many workplaces are still innately sexist. The trouble is, they either don’t realise that they are being sexist, or they do, but genuinely think that someone’s “other commitments” means they are less productive (and so clearly lack imagination). Yet in my experience, people with limited time are frequently much more productive than those who might spend an hour or two more at work.

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