On International Women's Day, NDTV's Prannoy Roy said it's high time that India recognizes and rewards women fairly. Indian male politicians oppose affirmative action for women because they're "terrified" of being outperformed, he said, while launching the NDTV-L'Oréal Women of Worth campaign.
Here's the transcript of Prannoy Roy's speech at the Women of Worth conclave:
Hello, everyone, and welcome to this most - for all of us - important and inspiring conclave - Women of Worth. NDTV is in fact most honoured and proud to partner this movement, and I congratulate L'Oréal Paris for taking the lead in this very significant step.
Every step like this counts towards changing the way society thinks and functions. Because let me start by saying "Men are the pits". Sorry, I'll re-phrase that - "Men are the absolute pits". And male politicians are the dregs of the pits - but I'll come to that in just a minute. And there's a huge amount of data that shows why I call men the pits. A recent survey by the Peterson Institute of nearly 23,000 people across 91 countries shows that female leadership boosts profits in corporations by 15%. Yes, women leaders make 15% higher profits for their organisations than male leaders - and yet only 1 in 10 CEOs are women. And it's the male mind that is now proved to be twisted. A recent paper by the World Economic Forum quotes extensively of the subconscious male mind being awfully biased. When looking and analyzing computer code, men find that female coders are much better than men - except when they find out it's been actually written by a woman. Then they downgrade it.
Male Biology students, a survey has shown, rate their female students as B-grade - even when the female students get As. The study also shows that at the current rate, before women have the same career prospects as men - it will take another 117 years for that to happen. I would say make that 217 for India, where women and men have the same career prospects.
So India needs to change. Our politicians, mostly men, need to change, and change quickly. Why do our politicians, for example, reject so strongly affirmative action in parliament, and refuse to allow even 33% of MPs as women? Why can't India's politicians follow the example of the Canadian Prime Minister, who announced a cabinet with 50% women? And when he was asked why have you done this, he said, guess what - "Because it is 2015". Why can't Indian politicians follow that example? I'll tell you why. It's actually quite simple. The male politicians, like many of us, are terrified. Terrified of women. There's one simple fact: women in India are better than men.
And it shows at NDTV. At NDTV, we count one woman as equal to 5 men. So we have a very, very high percentage of women in NDTV. I hope it shows in the quality of our product.
So we appeal in this campaign...and this is a beginning, against gender discrimination...we appeal not only to the politicians, we appeal to Bollywood to have greater diversity and to ensure equal pay for male and female actors. Why do we have any disparity at all? We appeal to religions - religion has, in fact, historically been a major source of discrimination against women. Religions of all kinds, every single kind. And religion is a powerful force in our country - so we appeal to religious leaders to be the forefront of this change.
So why this disparity in every walk of life? Frankly, and I will say it again - it's all about fear. Men in India know that women are better than them, so the only way for men to succeed is to use every way possible to keep women away from becoming competition - because in a fair and equal competition status, men don't stand a chance. Agree?
So this conclave aims to change some of that - I just ask you now to sit back and listen to some of the most wonderful minds and most talented people of our country. It's time men listened to women. Thank you all for coming.