Showing posts with label GENDER ISSUES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GENDER ISSUES. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SUGUNA'S CORNER - How gender friendly is the Library profession?

ILIs poll on the `status of Library Profession' has set me thinking. It requires more than a poll to respond. Nevertheless, I answered the question from amongst very many interesting options given. I chose the safest option although personally I have very raw feelings about the profession which I think I should keep to myself.

But I definitely feel that it would be useful to share my views on the Gender aspects of it.

Why I chose to migrate from my basic discipline, Agriculture throws light on some of these aspects.

Deadly combination!

In a way it was the other way round, it was Library science that I wanted to pursue over a base of some professional course, which happened to be agriculture in my case. In fact this was the advice given by Dr. Sreepathy Naidu, Ex. Librarian of S.V. University, Tirupati, to his students to guide their children into Library profession via some professional course. My mother happened to be in his class pursuing her B.Lib. Sci. and my career is the result.

Cool roof over your head!

But this idea was reinforced within myself on a particular hot summer afternoon when we saw two women library staff sitting under the comfort of a fan in an already cool Library building, while we had just returned from our Agronomy practicals class. While I enjoyed doing those planting, weeding and harvesting operations, I was not ready to take those tensions of `timely' operations in the rest of my life.

Wider choice!

Choosing library profession, facilitates a wider choice while selecting your `spouse'. Whomever you marry, be it in Amalapuram or in America, you can be sure of having a Library and hence sure of having a profession for yourself. It is not the case with Agriculture.

Under one roof!

Once, a couple discovered very lately, that their professions don't match. That means they can never get jobs at the same place even if they manage to get high level recommendations. One works on Oceans and the other on Deserts! Difficult to co-exisit!! (We don't know, with climatic change it could be possible!!). But, then one of them switched to Library profession so that they could nest! (I don't remember the exact disciplines but it was something similar to this combination)

The top most and ...

Gender suitability is not the same to all the positions in a Library. Even when they are capable, at certain times, it becomes difficult for them to `attend to' or `stay late' or make `surprise visits on Holidays', because of their obvious domestic responsibilities.

Some women, (like me) have a tendency to do all the things by themselves and fail to delegate or effectively manage others. In that case the first position is not suitable.

Another job which women cannot handle in a library is to shelve, take out or otherwise handle large bound volumes. I found it very difficult during my pregnancy but was not complaining about it outwardly as in those days we were not talking `such' issues.

At your own pace!

It is this property of the `Library profession' that gave me the facility/luxury of working from home. Certain jobs like Cataloguing and Classification are intellectual and demand a good amount of concentration, undisturbed by the administrative responsibilities and obligations in a Library. These jobs could better be done away from a library. This is what I am doing now as a free lancer. It is not totally new in our family, as my sister Smt. Kameswari, a Library professional herself and wife of a Librarian, used to prepare entries on cards for Kendreeya Vidyapeeth in Tirupati. I am using computer instead!