The CEO of Tata Starbucks Avani Davda, the first female CEO of the company, when asked in an interview about why women form only 15% of Starbucks retail outlet workforce said, “Women need to appreciate that meritocracy cannot be given up for diversity.”
In other words, the reason Tata Starbucks has such few women working in their stores is because the company finds women overwhelmingly incompetent. Indeed too incompetent to even make coffee in an automatic coffee maker, and pour it into a cup for a customer at one of their stores, or sell them one of their over-priced coffee mugs or coffee packets over the counter.
Then Davda is asked about women’s careers and jobs outside of home and family. And to that she says, “Every body today wants to work. But if all start working how will we know our children?”
Translation: Women are too incompetent to serve coffee at our shops, and why should they want to do that any way? They are better tied to the kitchens at home. After all who is going to cook, clean and feed the kids? Surely you don’t expect men (fathers and husbands) to do that! That’s a woman’s job!
Well, Well! Ms. Davda is surely hand-picked by the old-boys-club! Or is this the professional version of the Indian mother-in-law who beats up on her daughter-in-law and hates grand-daughters? And don’t miss the sign Tata Starbucks has up in the above photo of one of their Indian outlets! “We hold ourselves to a higher standard. Yours!” In a misogynistic society, that quote must hold a nugget of truth!
But again, it is said that women’s empowerment in India will happen only we get more women into positions of power! When we get 33% of seats in government filled by women. And yet it is exactly this kind of misogynistic attitude that is consistently true of women occupying most seats of power in India, and not just in corporate houses, but also in government and in politics. It is not till women at the grassroots level challenge this kind of misogyny, from both men and women (specially women!) in positions of power, that we’ll see change.