TODAY -

Ambitious Indian women - myth or reality ?

Dr Sumedha Kushwaha *



Today's article is an observation of what happens around me everyday. I had put a WhatsApp status a few days back asking "Whether being an ambitious woman in India is a difficult thing?"

Oh my god! It soon turned out that my phone was a warzone with twenty thousand perspectives. So much so that I got lost in the sea of thoughts, rationalizing and reasoning out the information given to me.

To my surprise no one was wrong and no one was right! However, my perspective somewhat remains the same. "Whether being an ambitious woman in India a difficult thing?" Obviously No and Practically Yes. I will explain how!

Obviously, a man and a woman are both creations of the divine universe and there is no difference in our creation other than a few organs and hormones. We are equal. However, practically, yes. There is a huge problem to pursue a professional career that a female wants towith all her might, no matter how good she is at it.

I am no feminist. I have equal love and respect for men and women both. I have no gender bias. However, practically if you look at the situation- many thousands of years back when we were hunters and cave dwellers-probably due to the bigger body frame of the man, he took care of hunting, going outdoors, facing dangers and finding food (for survival).

But, women who must have had smaller, petite body frames must have kept indoors protected by the man. Good enough explanation that women shall stay home, take care of the household, take care of the kids and so on. Now fast forward to a few hundred years back- we were a community then. We started growing crops, we started settling down.

Same principle applies but women started taking up other physically demanding roles as well. I am sure adaptation and evolution of body structures must have taken place. Now fast forward to the present daywe are now equal because the work that we do is primarily mental than physical.

We receive the same education, we have the same skillset, we have similar abilities, we are equally qualified and we do/can earn nearly the same money (for survival).

Now, my question is then why are we subjected to thoughts like
"a woman is responsible of taking care of the household"/
"You are a woman, you need to take care of the baby"/
"Oh my, she is not a good daughter in-law, she does serve her in-laws well"/
"You can't study further, you have a family to take care of"/
"She is 42 years, still didn't get married, who will take care of her after her parents"/
"Don't take that job, you will come home late, it is not safe"/
"You are having your menstrual cycle, don't touch anything in the kitchen"!!

The list is endless.

We all hear this so often that we have started to believe this as true. But let me tell you all the women and men out there! If you believe in this and think this to be true- I have ultimate respect for your opinion. But, in my opinion, its high time. Its time for girls to start believing in their capability and stop looking for approval.

Let no man choose you. Rather, if and when you want, select a man who values you not for your petty looks but for your calibre; one who doesn't hold your string like a kite- that he controls the direction in which you fly, rather find a companion who flies with you in the open sky.

Don't settle for someone who keeps telling what is right or wrong but who asks you and values first what you are comfortable with. Women, let me put this out clearly- the way you train other people to treat you, they will just act that way! Don't let anyone undervalue or devalue you!

You have all the right and ability in this world to do what you want to do, to live the life you aspire on your own terms, choose what you like rather than being a victim to situations that you have been put up to by the society. Keep questioning facts you do not like. Don't stop asking questions. If someday you do something courageous, please stop and appreciate yourself.

You are first a human being and responsible for your own self and happiness. Then comes your role as a mother, daughter, wife, girlfriend, daughter in law. First you prove your worth to yourself. Everyone and everything comes second. Our problem is that we have started to please everyone around so much that we have forgotten what makes us happy!

Please Humans- You are the most important creation of god. Don't devalue yourself. For all men, who are still humans and support their wives, daughters, daughter in-laws etc. Thank you. We do not need your support. We are self-sufficient. You have no right to tell us that we are standing by you. Nature has given us two feet. We can stand very well on our own.

If you have a child, it's an equal responsibility of both parents to raise the child well- not just the mother. If you are a human being and feel hungry- It is the duty of both of you cook and feed yourself- not just the wife. If you are a civilized person- it is the duty of everyone in the family to keep the house clean- not just the daughter in law. If you need a break, so does she.

If your office work is important- so is hers. If you want to chill after a long day- so does she. Please stop the bias that men are humanoid and women merely humans. Last but not the least- to answer my question- Yes, it is practically very difficult to be ambitious as a woman in India.

But, I was having a long conversation with a close male friend whom I completely adore over the phone and discussing the issue. He smirked and asked me "Do you know how difficult it is to be a man in India?" I pondered over that question while we chatted discussing his problems. I will take this one up another time. Till then Hasta la vista!


* Dr Sumedha Kushwaha wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at thoughtsredcaprigal(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on November 29 2020.



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