His voice — let’s hear it too

Yes, today we will see what he has to say. He has a lot of voice but most of it is silenced by what society expects of him, or how he is supposed to be.

But, I came across someone who was voicing his thoughts from a place of honesty. And this is a small story on that encounter and my thoughts around it.

We recently had a small meet-up. This was an investor’s event and I was a little nervous. I know my job well, but I still find it hard to keep a tab at every news item. And people tend to talk about latest news and stock market in such event (or so I thought).

When the event started, one female trader turned up with her husband. I was expecting none, so it was a pleasant surprise. Including me and my friend-cum-colleague, we were three women in a room of 50–60 men.

The other day, Nivruti Rai, country head of Intel India said “don’t bring your gender to your workplace.” I agree and honestly I always endeavour to do that. I am able to do it when it’s two women amongst 14 men in everyday life. But in such a gathering, I cannot help but notice things.

May be because now that I have started noticing, the disparity in participation is all I see everywhere.

Or may be because we had to open our restroom to all the men, while we held our bladders. Can be that as well.

Anyway, while I was ignoring the disparity and soaking in all the gyaan around, one man spoke up. And here is what he said and I quote :

“we all of us tend to nod our heads when our CA is explaining us detailed taxation terms and stuff when we actually don’t understand a thing. But then, men are expected to understand finance and there is a certain shame for men to admit that either they are not interested or don’t understand finance”.

The point was super valid but not discussed further, for some reason. I wondered if he spoke what was not supposed to be said, ever. And was the shame playing it’s part again? I will leave it to your judgement.

However, I did catch up with him later and told him how I thought he was so right. And how on the opposite end are women who can openly admit their ignorance and there is no shame attached.

Women ask me, “what’s the big deal about not being involved in money decisions”. Well, for one, when you speak of equality, should it not apply everywhere, even on things you are not comfortable with? Why to assume and expect the man to figure it all out alone?

If you want him to help in kitchen and household work, what’s so wrong if he wants you to work, earn money and work with him towards managing it too? Did you not expect a comeback from him when he undertook his share of household responsibilities?

Even if the man is a pro with money, you need to know for your own sake.

No one is immortal and it helps to not stay clueless.

The usual retort is ,”what’s the big deal about money? We do other things as per interests too. Nobody questions that!”

Here’s what I think. It is okay to not know other things because you are not interested in them. Because it is in your control to stay away from those. Don’t like reading — stay away from books. Don’t like working — stay at home or freelance. Don’t like travel — stay at home. Don’t like cooking — hire a cook. Don’t like kids — don’t have them.

Don’t like money? Nah! You do like money. You love money. You love to see it growing and fret when it is not. What you don’t like is learning about money.

Well, by my own experience, learn by initiative or you will be forced to learn by circumstances. And that’s more difficult.

And men, how I wish you would speak up about your limitations. And how you would involve and keep the women informed of whatever you are doing with money. I know sometimes women assume control and it gets difficult, but learn to handle that too.

You never know she may be better at it than you. And who else will place a bet on her if not you? She places the highest bet on you everyday.

When that man spoke up, it would not have been easy for him. He was not encouraged or applauded. But I heard him. And now you are reading this. May be you concur, may be you don’t.

But he touched at least one life. Isn’t that worth it?

Originally published at She Talk Cents.

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