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Esther Duflo Wins Her Nobel As An Economist And Not As Abhijit Banerjee's Wife

We live in 2019 but somewhere our mindset is still stuck in the old beliefs where women rarely had their own identity. A similar thing happened with Esther Duflo, the economist who won the Nobel Prize. She has become the youngest woman ever to win the prize and also the first French woman. She has also the second women economist to win this prize and she has won this prize as an 'economist' not as a 'wife'. Yes, you read it right.

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Esther Duflo is the wife of Abhijit Banerjee, the one who also won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science on the same day. There were three economists who were honoured with Nobel Prize and Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee happened to be the two of them. But instead of addressing Duflo as an economist, people are addressing and congratulating her as the wife of Abhijit Banerjee.

Why is it that when a woman earns something rare and commendable, the reporting of the same is done in a sexist way? Right after the moment when the winners were honoured, several articles have been penned down in which people are feeling proud over Abhijit Banerjee. After all, it is a moment of pride but why is the achievement and identity of Esther Duflo overshadowed by the tag of Abhijit Banerjee's wife. Why don't we call her as an economist?

Did we ever acknowledge a man's achievement by his gender-specific roles rather than his professional roles?

We often tend to ignore the achievements of women by considering her the mother, wife, sister and daughter as the more important than her professional role and achievement. Even today, women have to work harder and extra in order to earn what they actually deserve. There are several scenarios where women are paid according to their gender and not on the basis of their hard work.

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There are many examples where women have either sacrificed their careers for the sake of their family and children. But men doing the same and letting their wives live their dreams is quite rare. Though there might be some men who take the decision of quitting their profession and looking after the kids while the wives would continue their profession, the working women are still supposed to work as a housewife as soon as they return back from their work.

Also, if a man decides to stay at home and look after the kids, he is praised but when a woman decides to step out of the house and earn for her family, she is hardly praised. All credits to the patriarchal mindset where women's status is hardly above men's.

Recently, at a press conference, Indian Cricketer, Mithali Raj was asked who she admired as a male cricketer. She responded by asking if they ever asked the male cricketer about their favourite female cricketer.

In order to eradicate this toxic sexism and acknowledging the achievements of women, we need to start accepting their achievements and their identity. By this, we don't mean the identity that is overshadowed by the males around her. President Obama's staffers introduced a great initiative called 'amplification' in which they repeated and acknowledged the female colleague's key point. Also if a male colleague tried to pass it as his own, the credit was given to the females who actually suggested it.

It is not that women can't explore and manage things on their own. The history is the witness of several women who broke the glass ceiling and set an example. Though they were often sidelined and overshadowed by the men around them, those women chose to make their own identity. Let us now bring a positive change where the achievements of a woman are not ignored behind her role as a mother, wife, sister and daughter.

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Therefore, congratulate Esther Duflo as an economist rather than referring her as a wife of Nobel Prize winner.

Story first published: Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 12:10 [IST]
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