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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Real Gender Equality: Women Storm A Few More Male Bastions

With Ms. Kanimozhi being charged for the 2G spectrum scam (mobile telephony service providers given access to spectrum at subsidised rates, causing loss to the exchequer), it has been confirmed that Indian women have successfully stormed another male bastion, i.e., of large-scale corruption. Although she is being credited only with having siphoned off about Rs. 200 crore (1 crore = 10 million) by the Central Bureau of Investigation at present, it is widely believed that she has made several times that amount (running into thousands of crores) through ex-telecommunications minister A. Raja, who shared the spoils with her in return for ensuring that he retained his position in the union cabinet. Therefore, Ms. Kanimozhi seems to have broken through the 'glass ceiling' that appears to have existed for women 'scamsters' earlier, with the highest scorer previously being Ms. Mayawati, the chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh, who is said to have 'earned' about Rs. 150 crore from the Taj corridor scam.

Ms. Kanimozhi is reported to have achieved the feat with the help of Ms. Niira Radia, a corporate lobbyist who seems to have given male 'fixers' of 'deals' between politicians and businessmen a run for their money. So, that is another field in which women have made their mark in this country and the day does not appear to be far when more of them will claim their rightful place in the world of high-profile and high-volume graft.

Also, Indian young women have not only been marching shoulder to shoulder with their male colleagues, but, in many instances, seem to be ahead, when it comes to the procurement of fake commercial pilot's licences. In fact, the distinction of being the first such pilot to have come into the limelight belongs to a woman, Parminder Kaur Gulati. She had almost perfected the technique of landing an aircraft on its nose wheel, instead of on the rear wheels as most other pilots (even fake ones) do. Unfortunately for her, the wheel assembly got jammed following one such landing and unsympathetic officials grounded her, besides instituting an enquiry. Apparently, no one at the airline that employed her thought of promoting flying with her as a form of adventure sport quite akin to skydiving, albeit more dangerous. Even the National Commission for Women has not recognised her talent and stepped in on her behalf so far.

Another, Rashmi Sharan, studied for her pilot's licence at a flying school that had no aircraft or classroom (and closed down soon after she had completed her course) and had a 'special' examination conducted for herself by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (where her father was employed as Joint Director at that time), when she could not, unfortunately, clear the regular ones despite several attempts; an achievement that no male 'pilot' is known to have been able to emulate so far.

One wonders why the tremendous success achieved by these women towards the attainment of gender equality is not being hailed as such in mass media, as is often the case otherwise.

Update: March 25, 2012. While Ms. Gulati is a pioneer of the technique of landing an aircraft on its nose wheel, another female pilot has recently achieved the distinction of landing an Airbus A319 not on any of its wheels, but, rather, on its tail. According to an air-safety expert, "It is close to impossible to do a tail strike on aircraft like A319 and [Boeing] B737-600 because of the short fuselage length." Apparently, unlike other aircraft such as the Airbus A321 or the Boeing B737-800, an A319 is comparatively shorter and, consequently, its nose has to be heavily pitched up for its tail to strike the ground.

Also, Ms. Mayawati has stormed yet another male bastion by becoming one of the richest politicians in India. She has achieved the tremendous feat of having doubled her self-declared personal assets during her latest stint as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.