Its been 3 months since I published something and I realized I haven’t posted anything this year at all! As much as I would have loved to blame it on my “busy life”, which is the fad these days, I’ll just say I was dis-oriented. Period.
Prologue: This post is not a rant. These are not complaints and these have very little to do with my personal situations. Don’t judge, just read.
During my post graduation, my project was on a less talked about topic called “Job Embeddedness.” This topic also got me reading about work life balance and how it was becoming difficult for women to break the glass ceiling, despite living in the 21st century. They say that behind every successful man, is a woman. How come there is no corollary to that statement? This post is my take on what I like to call “The Working Woman Paradox”.
I have been fortunate to work for most parts of my career as an HR in multiple industries which exposed me to the reality that there is still insufficient female representation at the top of most organizations. I am especially referring to the C-suite and Board levels as it appears that many women board directors tend to be the same ones being “circulated” across different boards and in some cases, are only selected due to being a family member of a family-run business! That is primarily one of the reasons I started reading up on women empowerment and diversity and inclusion.
It isn’t easy being a working mother. I mean, mother’s or women in general have always been working. Whether she is at home or in office, she has always worked. It has never been easy for women to strike that perfect balance between career and family. However, it is certainly possible to be both good mothers and competent professionals. Look at me! (Read:Cheapo ;)). India, as a country has been moving towards empowering women and India. Inc is definitely trying to be more accommodating and open. Slowly, compared to the past, women who have been going out to work now has increased. Sadly though, it doesn’t change their role at home. The division of chores and responsibilities at home is almost the same as what it was decades back. Sigh. While women, world over, continue to be the primary caretakers of children; in the Indian milieu, elder care is another familial responsibility that women shoulder. The deeply embedded sexism and conditioning of women, who have been raised to see an impeccable home and well behaved children as a sign of her worth is one of the biggest problem, especially in the Social Media age.
“I believe that every girl, every woman, should feel free to dream high and choose whatever she wants to do in life. I believe that women and men are equal and that the only limit to girls’ dreams should be the extent of their own efforts.”
Personally, I have days when I feel guilty about not spending enough time with the girls. DIYs and baking and making dishes they love are all weekend activities. I hardly get time to do it on a weekday. Caught between work, travel, daily chores and the worry job, most weekdays are a roller coaster. When caught between office and family responsibility, as a working mother, my mantra is to ask myself, “What’s more important right now?” More often than not, the solution lies in the answer to that question.
In conversations I have had with working mothers, one thing has always stood out; The support of family. A working woman who has a strong support system at home is bound to be successful at the work front. This is because they know that the responsibilities and chores at home is not a battle that they have to fight alone. What must change in our society though, is its approach. Everyone needs to accept that whether a mother is working inside or outside the house, doesn’t hamper her ability to bring up happy and healthy children.
“We are women determined to live our best life and turn our dreams into reality. We persevere in the face of obstacles, the self-doubt and those who try to tear us down, and will not stop until we reach our destination.” “we’ve failed, we’ve stumbled and made mistakes. Not defined by our past we learn, grow stronger, and climb backup every single day. We are victors, not victims. We are fearless Queens, and we are unstoppable.” – Pinar Parry
It is my hope that we continue to support other women in and outside of the workplace. Practicing and imparting values of equality to young minds in Indian households is a difficult task. It is a herculean one, but definitely do-able and much needed in today’s times.