Characters

  1. Sudha Murthy: A young bright girl and main protagonist.
  2. Mr. JRD Tata: A visionary leader who oversaw the dramatic expansion of the Tata Group and the industrialization of India.
  3. Mr. Moolgaokar: Chairman of the company.

Introduction

‘Gender Bias’ is an extract from the collection of stories ‘’How I Taught my Grandmother to Read’, written by a well-known social worker and author Sudha Murthy. In the present essay she describes how she applied for and got a job that had been advertised solely for men. Sudha Murthy began her professional career in Computer Science Engineering. She is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.

Summary

An advertisement that changed Sudha’s future

Sudha Murthy was in the final year of her M. Tech in 1974 at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. One day she came across an advertisement for a job in Telco. Candidates are required to be hard working, besides having an excellent academic record. But it was clearly stated that ladies were not eligible to apply.

As a student Sudha Murthy’s life was full of happiness and bliss. She was not aware of any injustice or discrimination against anyone. But all this was shaken when she saw the advertisement for the post of an engineer in Telco. She was not particularly interested in taking up the job as she was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in Computer Science. 

A protest against the injustice policy

She strongly decided to protest against the unjust policy of the company. So, she applied for the job. She also wrote a post card to JRD Tata, expressing her dismay. She wrote that the Tatas were the pioneer of Indian industry. They had also established reputed institutions for higher education, such as the IISC Bangalore. It was surprising that such a renowned and respected company was displaying gender bias by not hiring women.

Sudha was surprised to be called for an interview at Pune. She took it lightly and went to Pune just to buy sarees for her friends. When Sudha went for the interview at Telco’s Pune office, she saw there were six people on the panel. Then the author realized that it was a serious business. So, before the interview, Sudha told the panel that she hoped it was only a technical interview. The gentlemen in the interview panel told her politely that it would be difficult for women to work on the shop floor. Therefore, as a policy, the company did not hire women.

First woman to work in Telco

Sudha Murthy then told them that times were changing. “Women must be given chance to prove their worth as they were as capable as men”. Finally, she got the job. She had never thought that she would take up a job in Pune. After joining Telco, Sudha did not get a chance to meet him till she was transferred to Mumbai. One day, she went to the chairman’s 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.” 

She married a shy young man, Narayan Murthy, whom she met in Karnataka. In 1974 when Sudha Murthy was pursuing her M. Tech course at the Indian Institute of science, in Bangalore, very few girls took engineering as their career. It was so because girls were not given jobs of engineers in the companies. But today, nearly 50 per cent of the students in engineering colleges are girls.

Conclusion

Since ages, women have not been considered equal to men because of the biological differences between men and women. Looking closely, one will find gender inequality in every field of life. The writer here fights for the biasness and proves herself in the vast industry and became a motivation for the other girls to take up engineering.