Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Selective Reporting? I Don't Think So!

Emma wrote a post about a few thoughtless statements given by Mr. A.S. Murty, Director and Senior Vice-President, Human Resources, Satyam Computer Services. And in her comment section a few people say she is reporting selectively. Here is the link to the The Hindu Business Line Story. He laments that there are not enough senior women managers in Satyam because women have to balance family and career both. Later, quoting from the story, the reporter asks:
So would more women opt to remain single or childless in the future?

Family women a better fit

"This would not be healthy; the examples of many single women at the top is not a proud example I want to quote. Their anxiety, attitude, communication methods, etc, cause concern. Especially in divorced women, we commonly find problems and my experience is not positive. Some of these women are difficult to fit into teams; they can make both insensitive bosses as well as subordinates." Mr Murty believes that at senior levels family women fit in much better. But on the overall issue of women employees, his experience is positive.

"Contrary to popular belief women don't gossip much in office. They complete their task in time and leave. You might find male employees in office till 7 or 8.30 p.m., but their overall productivity is not necessarily better." He adds that to find women leaders Satyam is creating a forum of women leaders "who will themselves tell us what we need to do. We're completely open and flexible on this issue."

The last statements according to the comments left at Emma's blog, make the views of Mr. Murty balanced. I thoroughly disagree. The last quote in my opinion does nothing to wash away the insensitive comments and the huge stereotyping that he did about single women. Since 'his experience' is not positive with divorced women, it is the divorced women who are to be blamed? Of course how could he be accused of having a rigid mindset, after going through his comments. And all divorced women should fall in the category created by Mr. Murty?

I teach HR to college students and I am going to use this article to demonstrate 'what is stereotyping.' Thanks Mr. Murty and Satyam for giving me the material to use in my class and that has an Indian context too.

Update: Abi also writes about it.

18 Comments:

Anonymous megha said...

I feel it is you and not Mr. Murthy who needs some lessons on basic English and reading comprehension.

It is very clear from his remarks that he is just giving his experience of dealing with senior working women.He clearly uses 'Some of this women' when he refers to divorced women.

Stereotyping and giving a true picture are different buddy...and u better get some stereotyping lessons for yourself first.

You seem to stereotyped urself to believe that the whole world is against Divorced women.
Some people have the strange quality of seeing only the negatives around.The whole article praises women and has a positive tone with it.

5/10/2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger karmic_jay said...

I think his remarks were kind of insensitive. Out here in the US they would not dare say what he said about divorced women and get away with it.

Megha, I just wonder why you have to be rude to make your point? There is more than one way to look at this issue.

5/10/2006 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Emma said...

[mridula] Thanks for this post (and the hattip at DesiPundit too) and for standing up for me. I agree with you - one or two positive remarks about women do not take away the insensitivity towards women in the entire article. I would love to hear about the reaction of your students to this.

Megha, as karmic_jay rightly pointed out, there was no need for you to go up in arms against Mridula and in such a rude manner. Please feel free to make your point - just as we are - but it doesn't necessarily have to become a personal attack.

5/11/2006 7:18 AM  
Blogger Mridula said...

Megha, read it again. "This would not be healthy; the examples of many single women at the top is not a proud example I want to quote. Their anxiety, attitude, communication methods, etc, cause concern. Especially in divorced women, we commonly find problems and my experience is not positive. Some of these women are difficult to fit into teams; they can make both insensitive bosses as well as subordinates.

The only time Mr. Murty uses the word some is when he is talking about fitting into teams.

Jay, from reading a lot of stuff, I know this much that it would be very difficult to get away with such statements publicly in the US and in many other countries.

Emma, when I read your post I immediately wanted to write about this one, but had some work to do. Then when people started saying you are reporting selectively, I decided to write about it immediately.

5/11/2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Alka said...

Megha Ji,
I strongly think that you can DEFINITELY do with some lessons in manners and how to behave at a public place like a blog.

Karmic Jay has already stated that what will happen if this statement was given in US.

5/11/2006 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anirudh said...

Heh!

5/11/2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

And what does that mean Anirudh? Sounds like a very ambiguous sound!

5/11/2006 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Albert Krishna Ali said...

women emplyees at Satyam need to demand an apology from him

5/11/2006 6:08 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I've never understood predjudice against a group, race, gender, religion, whathaveyou. I don't think I'd like Mr. Murty very much...

5/11/2006 7:57 PM  
Blogger Anu said...

Has there been some protest about his statements outside also or is it only in the blogs? Atleast some letter to the editor in the Hindu itself hopefully?

5/11/2006 8:24 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

Shivam, man you have a nice nick name now.

Teri, neither do I.

5/11/2006 8:26 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

Anu, apart from writing about it on my blog, I have done nothing. I will write a letter to the editor now that you suggest it.

5/12/2006 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Albert Krishna Ali said...

shivam who? my name is albert.

:)

5/12/2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

OK, Albert but almost everyone knows who you are Krishna! So what is the point Ali :)

5/12/2006 4:48 PM  
Blogger dazedandconfused said...

the comments were obviously insensitive, but if you are going to use it to teach college students about stereotypes et al, maybe you should get a confirmation from the concerned gentleman, no? Maybe he was misquoted...

Personally, I have no reason to believe that except all HR personnel that I have seen and heard till now are pretty good at choosing their words carefully...

And wasn't there one CEO of an ad agency last year who made a much more insulting comment about why women don't make it to the top echelons of the ad world...??

5/15/2006 5:42 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

I think I can use any published material in my class after giving the credit to the published source. It is not that I am quoting a personal conversation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

5/17/2006 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mridula,

Could you email me at asterisk@sulekha.com

Thanks.

8/11/2006 2:05 AM  
Blogger Sachin said...

Mridula: Agreed this is a comment coming on something which you have posted almost 8 months back but I just got the opportunity to go through it. I just wanted to say that all said and done, I whole heartedly agree that Mr. Murty seems to have shot his mouth off a little too much there. Wonder what analysis was done by him and his team to get the kind of data that went behind those thoughtless comments. Being at the position he is (is he still VP HR there?), he does not have ANY excuse while delivering such statements....in fact at his level every public statement issued by him should be proof read with a fine toothcomb by professionals.

Apart from that, though the article professed to share a positive outlook towards females, it left me a deep sense of foreboding regarding the future of women in Indian organizations - not the best example I'd want to set for the future generations!

Great post!!

Cheers!!

P.S. And Megha was very rude though I don't know to what end. Is she related to Mr. Murty?

3/14/2007 12:12 PM  

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