BANGALORE: Back in the day, somewhere in the early 19th century a few women may have paved the way for later generations to come, with their bold move to don trousers pants and stand shoulder to shoulder with men, but the scenario has changed only a little since. While those working in the corporate level may beg to disagree, others working at the grass root level think otherwise.
DCP South, Sonia Narang emphasises that women are at par with men today. “Their recruitment tests, duties as well as the uniforms are also the same. I think it is a great step. If men and women are on par with each other, why should there be a concession or discrimination in the uniforms? Every uniform is designed keeping in mind the needs and requirement of the job in question,” she states. Narang further adds that it is a great achievement for women to reach the level they have.
On the other hand, a security guard on the condition of anonymity says that though she must wear trousers because her job demands it, she prefers to be clad in a saree. “I feel Indian women look their best in sarees. But I would agree that in case of an emergency, it would be hard to work wearing a saree,” she says. Many women like her, have become accustomed to wearing the so-called man’s attire, over time. “We have to wear it. Our job requires us to,” they say. But some also confess, that though not their first preference, the entire ensemble does make them look smarter. And intriguingly, it is not the older generation that is of such a point of view, a few from the this generation also feel
Another interesting fact is that while the entire fashion world is looking into the men’s wardrobe for ideas and inspirations, these women, who have very little exposure to the glamorous world, prefer to stay warm within their comfort zone.
Aisha, a 17-year-old sale professional says that she is proud of the women today. “It feels great to work in the same place as men. I do not have an aversion to the uniform. We all wear trousers, in fact one could even say that it emancipates us. But at the same time, I do also feel a tad more comfortable in my Indian wear,” she says. Aisha rationals her choice by explaining that in the atmosphere that she was brought up in, the ‘dress-code’ has always been a little conservative. Then, is the suit any more revealing or provocative that the salwar kameez? She replies instantly and says that though it is not the case, it (trousers) is still not as comforting as the salwar kameez or the churidhar.
Would it be fair to say then, that, wearing the trousers to work is only mechanical and not out of choice? Shylaja, who works at a food chain negates that school of thought by saying that over the years women have adapted to their work requirements. “The fact that these women are at work is proof enough that they are more liberated now then they probably were a few years ago. Even though they do not approve of trousers and pants, they still wear it. This also reveals another aspect, they do not detest the pants they are only not very fond of it. Give them some time and they will come around,” she says.
Over 200 years after Elizabeth Smith Miller wore the first women’s pants, a few women are yet to accept the ‘men’s wear’ with open arms.