Hello readers! I apologize for being MIA. As the first year of graduate school came to a close, I took some time off to ponder on all that I’ve learned over the course of the year, and not just professionally, but moreover personally. And as I dive into a new chapter in my life, with some important decisions to be made which could possibly define my life ahead, I got thinking on this idea of having it all.
Can one ever have it all? More importantly, can a woman have it all? Just today morning, I was listening in and taking notes on a conversation between my professor/mentor, Tariq Khan, and a woman who has been named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women by Fortune, Kathy Murphy. Her thoughts about women in general as well as specifically in the financial services industry were thought provoking. Her advice to women all over is to aim high and push your potential. The issue for the less number of women in financial services, or leadership positions for that matter, she says, is deep-rooted in the stereotypes against women which they are made to believe since a young age.
In high school, girls are presumed to be weak at science and math which is typecast in college, and even though the number of girls who graduate is more than boys, the inclination to STEM is very less.
All this can be tracked down to a lack in confidence in women. The society and the media, although have progressed in this area, recognizing women as a significant segment, I’m sure we all remember the sexist advertising of the old days.
The question now arises that are women given enough opportunities to grow, become leaders? And if these opportunities are given do women have the confidence or support to have it all?
PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi, once said that she can’t have it all. Becoming a President of PepsiCo didn’t impress her own mother. Her story where she had to be a dutiful daughter, before being acknowledged as a President of a multi-billion dollar company, delineates the situation of women all over the globe. Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” Campaign, also shed light on the unfair gender bias, not only in the work force, but also on a more personal level.
Back in India, by mobile provider Airtel, created a stir for showcasing a woman as a boss over her husband. Will we as women ever be able to find a right balance between work and home? Will we ever break free from labels? With all these talks on closing the pay gap between men and women, the reality still remains that women who work equally hard at equal posts still have to fight for this right. The day we have to stop fighting comparison with men, will be the real feminist victory.
So how does a woman in today’s day and age muster the courage to dare to want it all? Recognizing your strength and knowing your potential is the first step. They say by 2020, women’s pay will overtake that of men, which goes on to show that women are capable and are delivering results, which alone should inject confidence in them.
Today, women have to be given importance to, brands need to target them by understanding their needs, companies need to acknowledge their work and have more provisions to ensure their work-life balance. We, the women, are a powerful force, and for the world to be open to our growing ambition, personally or professionally, we need to establish our authority, starting with ourself, building our confidence, knowing our goal and not being afraid to work hard to achieve it, and above all, believing that anything is possible!