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ImageThe catchphrase, "You're fired!", made popular by American business tycoon Donald Trump, recently came to haunt the CEO of a major New Zealand employers' group.

Alasdair Thompson of the Employers' and Manufacturers' Association (EMA) implied that women were paid less because they took more leave due to their menstruation cycles every month. He was sacked. Working women react to his comments and tell us whether they agree with the punishment meted out to him.

What he said

When quizzed about who takes more leaves, he said, "Women do, in general," adding. "It is because once a month they have sick problems. Not all of them, but some do. They have children that they have to take time off for, to go home to. Therefore it's their productivity... it's not their fault."

Absurd notion

Theatre personality and actor Lillete Dubey says, "I find his comments absurd. Women are not incapacitated in any way, as they manage to strike a balance between their personal and professional responsibilities.

His perception that women are not fully efficient during certain days of the month due to their monthly cycle is baseless, because you cannot generalise. Most women work and function normally even during that period. His statements may be true for a very small percentage, but he cannot apply that to everyone else. His reasoning is both archaic and medieval. Women, continue to work even during pregnancy right up till the ninth month."

Bhumika Malhotra, an HR executive, agrees with Dubey, adding, "I pity this person's mind. It's wrong to assume that women function below par during menstruation because this is not true for a majority of women. I have seen women work normally even during those days. Besides, even if a small percentage of women are affected and it does take a toll on their work during that time, it's okay if they make up for it during the month. After all a company focuses on results and consistency. It's wrong to penalise women for something that is not their fault."

Fair Play

Sangeeta Rao, a media person, says that such lame reasoning should not be entertained, and adds, "Only someone desperate to be noticed and written about, someone with intense attention-seeking issues, would say such a thing undermining a struggle that has cost so many women so much and is finally beginning to make the world a more equal place. I know and have worked with men known to disrupt and vitiate the work atmosphere because they either drink too much, cannot control their temper or are supremely distracted by every reasonably attractive coworker. If we are going to pay women less for their periods, perhaps we should pay men less for every working day that follows a night that they have not had sex, making them frustrated and irritable. We get annoyed and so do they, so this reasoning has no place in today's work environment."

Actor Udita Goswami lashes out at this kind of thinking saying, "The CEO is an idiot. Only idiots can make such statements. I think he suddenly realised that giving such quotes about women would put him in the news without doing much. It's a waste of my time to even comment on something like this and give this jerk importance."

Actor Shazahn Padamsee concludes, "Discrimination against women is something I feel very strongly about. Male chauvinists with their outdated notions on women need to be hauled up!"

By Melissa D’costa