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Tag Archives: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Who’s A Feminist?

What in the world do you mean by the word ‘feminist’? Does a woman who wants respect, a safe life, the right to voice her opinion and the freedom to follow her dreams automatically become one?

Then let me ask you three questions:

  • The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, says “…..recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of the human family is the foundation if freedom, justice and peace in the world”.  This is applicable for and by every individual on our planet and I count myself one among them, don’t you count yourself there too?
  • The Indian Constitution gives us (1) the right to equality, (2) the right to freedom, (3) the right against exploitation, (4) the right to freedom of religion, (5) the cultural and educational rights, (6) the right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. Are not women being exploited and denied to freedom of living as equals in society?
  • This phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” what do these inalienable rights stand for and why should we not demand them?

If wanting the above makes me a feminist, then I am proud to be in the company of some of the world’s greatest leaders, women and men. You definitely are not better than that.

Image Credit: Image 1

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Stereotypes

 

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Winning Against Ourselves – Mind Games

V comes up to me this morning and starts talking about school.

“Mommy I’m really getting fast at running, I ran past S and K when we had games period yesterday.”

“That’s great V but isn’t the running part more fun than the running past other children part?”

“Yup, I love running with you in the park mommy, and we run together. So, I loooooooove running. It’s almost like flying a bit. But mommy I can’t go faster than the boys you know. That’s okay coz A (my nephew) told me that boys are stronger than girls.”

That put me in a dilemma, I didn’t want to encourage competitiveness in a child not yet 5 years old, but I also didn’t want to leave her with the weaker gender idea. That’s when I had a half-formed brain wave.

“V do you know far we run together at the park?”

“Yup 3 rounds?”

“Right and that’s one and a half kilometers darling. I’m sure no one in your class, boy or girl, runs that long and far.”

“I don’t know mommy. Their mommies don’t take them running so how will they know?”

Okay…… that was the second spanner in my works. Still, I decided to gamely plough on.

“Right, darling but here’s my point. See we are both girls and we are doing something nobody else in your class is doing, boy or girl. It doesn’t matter who’s stronger or weaker. All that we need to think about is this. Do we really want to do something? If we do, we keep doing it and enjoying it. After a while we will become the best at it. So the next time A or anyone else tells you that someone is stronger or weaker, tell them this. ‘The person who really wants to do something and enjoys it, is stronger and the person who doesn’t is weaker.'”

I don’t know if I got through to her this time or if the the idea was too convoluted. However, I’m making a promise on this Women’s Day to keep reminding myself, my daughter and my nieces that we can be and achieve whatever we want as long as we really want it and enjoy it. Gender is just a category like hair colour or height, it can’t affect who we are and what we choose to become. Yes, we’ll have a lot of battles to fight as women, but let’s win the one in our minds first. 

P.S. – Funnily my first ever post on this blog was on gender discrimination 🙂

P.P.S – It doesn’t matter if your little girl chooses to play a princess game or climb a tree. As long as she is confident in herself as an individual, she will make the right choices for herself.

P.P.P.S – Wow! I just realised (when I went to get the link to my first article) that today is this blog’s two year anniversary! I somehow missed the first one! Yay! Happy Anniversary to me.

Update: A couple of days back I found a new trophy in V’s prayer basket. She apparently won the girls running race for her LKG batch. That’s like first among 60 kids, I’m guessing the boy- girl ration is 50-50. Now I know where that boys being faster/stronger than girls discussion came from. It’s the school making them compete separately. She never mentioned winning and she just shrugged when I asked her about it!

Photo Credit: Image 1

 

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Role-Model

My extended family has about a 100 Chartered Accountants (the CPA equivalent, for the Americans among us), including my dad, so somehow I always knew that’s what I wanted to be. A couple of years ago, a distant cousin came upto me at a wedding and said “You are my role-model”. For a second there I was thrown and looked around the room. When I realised she was talking to me, I preened a little, because I thought she was referring to my figure (by some miracle my mom had helped me achieve a figure that was better than my pre-baby one, 6 weeks after delivery!). Then she gushed “You are the first girl C.A. in our family and I intend to be the second” and sighed. Yes, we have women who are doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and lots of other high-flying stuff in our family, however not one women CA!

Over the next two years when I felt particularly low – physically (I put on 20 pounds post-business), emotionally (working with your husband has it’s downsides) or careerwise (I can’t begin to tell you how I messed up) – I would cheer myself up by reliving those few moments when I was a role- MODEL (get the emphasis).

Well, this last week I was at a family friend’s wedding when I met a girl, let’s call her A, who I used to babysit for in school. 10 years down the line she was still super cute and friendly. This is the conversation we had:

A’s mom: A’s always talking about you and how you’re her role-model

A: I just finished my CPA and post graduation in accounting. I’m starting with E&Y next month, just like you (I did my articleship with E&Y, ages back). I want to be just like you. Have a career, gorgeous husband and cute babies. I’m going to come to you for tips.

Me (with the rapidly swelling head): You’re too sweet, I’m sure you’ll do better than me. Call me anytime, I’d love to help out.

A: Thanks N. Oh! by the way when did you get so fat?! You still look really pretty though.

The instant fall from cloud 9 to ground 0 was quick and unexpected. Pride does (literally) come before a fall. Fortunately, I knew this girl since she was a toddler and really didn’t really feel too bad. My role-(non) model head did immediately deflate and I was back to my old humble self.

Your Thoughts:

Have you ever been in a similar Pride to Fall situation? Or are you mature enough to take the good and the bad with your equilibrium intact?

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Role Models, The Real Me

 

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‘She’ is Victory

Source: Google Images

I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, be it Greek, Indian, Roman or any other. These stories seem to have the perfect blend of adventure, fantasy and lessons in reality. My daughter has inherited this love of ancient stories from me and our pre-bedtime session now revolves around mythology.

It was during one such bedtime session that I realised, the women in these tales were strong, opinionated and usually the central character. Take Artemis for example, though we refer to men as the hunter-gatherers, this woman was the Goddess of the Hunt. In-addition, she helped with the birth of her brother Apollo and is considered a Protectoress of Childbirth. Show me one man who has similar abilities. She was a demanding woman-boss, expecting nothing less than perfection, while also the protecting young men and women working with her. I would have loved to have a mentor/boss like her, especially when I entered the corporate world. She would have pushed me to do my best in a positive way.

Another favourite is Nike, the goddess who personified victory. This winged goddess of strength, speed and victory was often portrayed as the Divine Charioteer. She was said to fly over the battlefield and rewarded the victors with fame and glory. The truly feminine aspect here is that Nike was also the goddess of victory in peaceful competition! She didn’t need people to fight wars to prove themselves. Even today, we honour Nike on the modern battleground of the Olympics, where every medal has an engraving of her holding a palm frond in the right hand and a winner’s crown in the left.

These women didn’t worry about breaking the glass ceiling, they didn’t even stop to wonder if there was one. More importantly, they didn’t have it any easier than us mortals, I mean we can shrug of stuff saying “I’m human, you know” or “To err is human”. I would go so far as to say, being a goddess is way tougher. For one you had to look gorgeous while fighting all those gruesome battles, without the help of any modern beauty products. Secondly, you constantly had to be aware that your actions could change the course of history! No wonder Atlas shrugged (referring to Gods in general here).

I can only hope that the current diet of stories teaches my baby that she can achieve anything, all she needs is self-belief and courage, even if no one else thinks the same.

Just to clear the air, I have a whole host of stories based on exemplary men as well. I truly believe a role model is a good example irrespective of gender. It’s just a lot more fun when we can end the story shouting “girl-power” and punch the air like our favourite power-puff girls.

P.S. – I did another post on bringing children up with self-confidence here.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Role Models

 

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