Women can’t have it all!


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Why-PepsiCo-CEO-Indra-Nooyi-cant-have-it-all/articleshow/37689157.cms (Edited Version)

In this recent interview given by Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi, the responses from the CEO seem all too familiar and closer to home. The Indian woman maybe a high flyer in her workplace where she must be already working hard to prove herself, but at home, you are really nobody. All your airs and titles should be outside the home. The home will identify you as wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law only. Unless, you have a partner who will understand you and your aspirations, maintaining a career will be tough.

Here, the Indian woman has to be completely dependent on her family members and a host of household help. When the children are young, one has to depend on so many external factors before stepping out for office – hope the family member is not sick, the cook will come, the caretaker will come, the children are not ill – and then only leave for office. Between me and my husband, we used to look up our daily priorities and based on that decide on who will stay at home in case any emergency arises. Similarly, the school appearances. When interviewing the child for admission, school authorities expect the parents to be highly educated, well earning. And then they will keep open houses in the afternoons at 3pm, PTA meetings at 11 AM. And activities in which children are participating, during weekdays so that one has to leave work and attend these. Else face a lifetime of guilt at not letting the child participate or not being able to make it for the performances.

The classic dialogue is ‘the man is tired after he comes home from work’. What about the woman? Is she superhuman? Isn’t she tired after getting back from work? But a lot of changes is being seen in the current generation.   Changes are being reflected in movies, advertisements, serials.   In the saas-bahu serials, the Saas and the Bahu both are gainfully employed nowadays.  In the movies, the heroine is shown as doing some job.  The advertisements do show the men doing household chores.  This should break the gender stereotypes in a few years, hopefully.

I am thankful as I have survived this long in the workforce due to the support and encouragement from my spouse. Else, I would have probably left the job long back and would have been looking after the home and hearth exclusively. But frankly, that is not me and it would have been a lifelong of guilt at wasted education and opportunities.