Category Archives: Women
Another women’s day just passed by! Lot of attention in media – everyone did their bit! The private sector, the public sector and the individuals – all played their part in promoting the awareness about celebrating womanhood! Nice messages were pouring into my whatsapp, twitter, fb and mails. Everyone seemed to be enthusiastic about sharing their wishes with me – colleagues, friends, family…. and I reciprocated. In addition, I did my bit by joining a walkathon organized at work for the sake of girl child. It was a win-win for me – I could do a long walk and also make sure that I did my bit on women’s day.
And then, this interesting conversation happened during the walkathon. There was this senior person from a well established industry association which aggressively promotes “Diversity and Inclusivity” and in that context women. This gentleman was sharing his views on women leadership and the need to support women during their child bearing years. Typical of someone who is passionate about what they do, this gentleman was describing and analyzing the various initiatives to support women in IT sector.
During the course of this passionate conversation, he highlighted that employers should appreciate the needs of the women during pregnancy period also. He gave an example – if a women has morning sickness, she should be given the option for flexible timing. I was mentally absorbing this fact of including pregnancy period also to provide flexibility to women and wondering what it means to run a project and accommodate these requests – in reality, IT sector struggles a lot to provide meaningful flexi timing even post pregnancy as the work demands overlap timing with US time zones.
And suddenly he adds the spice ” you know, I was told that it is the senior women who are not very supportive to implement these small changes to take care of the women’s needs. They say, “we have gone through the pregnancy period and managed work without any concessions. Why can’t the current generation do this?’ That is where people say that men are different and take care of women better”. My thoughts were stilled and i was taken aback for a minute – alas, once again, i was reassured that women never get it easy!
My experience tells me to subscribe to the concept of “when going gets tough, the tough gets going” . With this new perspective shared by this gentleman, my subscription can easily be construed as a senior women not appreciating the tough situation which a junior women is going through??!!! Am aghast – should i patronize the younger generation to be a considerate senior or continue to goad them to cross over tough situations by being tough?? So, patronizing women is what they call as taking care of women??!!! where will they get this right?!
These…. Idiosyncrasies of being a woman!!
It is letter P for the A to Z challenge.
When i clicked on “Tossing it out” and saw P is Prison movies, I know this one was easy. Lot of regional movies has prison in its main theme.
But the first thought when to the movie called Chirai (Prison) – It is a Tamil regional movie of 1984, based on the story written by a Tamil novelist Anuradha Ramanan. Apparently, this storyline was very progressive – it handled a sensitive topic, where an orthodox traditional married women makes a decision which is beyond the tradition! This movie brought in the stunning logic for the then traditional society (it is still the same in many parts of the world). When the married women gets assaulted sexually, her husband disowns her – now here is this lady who already is a victim and also being held responsible for being a victim! She makes a bold decision to move into the house of the assaulter himself, who already has realized his wrong-doing and supports her till the end and gives a very decent quality of life! The story ends where the lady decide to live as a widow of the assaulter than her husband who deserted her ! What this movie portrayed was the biassed outlook of a society – which is way off from being a gender-neutral society!
In general, even today, many parts of the society look at the victim of sexual assault condescendingly – the victim itself is considered partly responsible for the crime – when the infamous Delhi incident happened as recently as December 2012, there were unprecedented supporting voices for women safety from every corner of the world. At the same time, there was this view of “can one hand clap?” from some parts of the society !!
While there is lot to be said about this sensitive topic of women safety around the world, it goes without saying that we not only need stricter laws but a sweeping mindset change, where every human being is looked at as a human being than as a women or men…!
Am sure we are progressing as a society, but have still a long way before we say we arrived! Till then – for those lovely women folks around the world – TAKE CARE, BE BOLD & STAY SAFE!
It is 100th anniversary of international women’s day !! I still feel the same about this…what i felt years back….that wish still seems to be a secret wish!!….especially when you are in the realms of corporate world where you continue to work through the daily chores of everyone’s psycho maps and get things done and still love those few nice moments (a small note, a text message, that little fluttered morning wish from a security staff, the little smile from a junior staff in the elevator, the big laugh in the cafeteria over ginger tea) – life for any gender is by and large influenced by that first circle of folks who we constantly meet or interact with and most of the time it is just that handful…
The factors which seem to be different for a women arises majorly due to couple of reasons
- people/society just see her as a women physically than as a fellow human being!
- mother nature still holds to the fact that only women can bear children!
Every other factor tends to fade in the background if these two are handled well! Just being constantly aware …. Constantly aware of Self , Environment , individual rights and one’s own values helps!
The understanding that there is really no right and wrong when it comes to gender diversity views is another step for us! – being financially dependent on her husband did not make any difference to my grandmom’s freedom of thought hundred years ago! She never knew the existence of women’s liberation – she was born and also married into families which were traditionally patriarchal – still she was the decision maker for the family at large – men folks wanted to listen to her – she managed huge weddings – she was there for everyone! There was no gender bias coming in!!
While the modern world brought the humanity lot of advantages, it also brought in its own challenges – while it is nice to have those focussed groups to support and encourage gender neutral practices in various walks of our daily life, the fact still remains that the individual (be it whatever gender) mostly decide their own destiny! As a man thinketh!! (a good debate topic for those feminist forums to find why James Allen did not write “As a woman thinketh!”)
Ofocurse – wishes to all those great and lovely women around the world – world is what it is today becoz of the different roles you all play – daughter, sister, mother, friend, boss, subordinate, etc…etc… you make a difference in the lives of every one around you!! Take care of yourself! Be aware! Be blessed!
When I saw the invite for the book publishing event in my mail box from Anitha, I wanted to go. Two reasons – Anitha is one of the persons whom I can just sit for hours together without even talking much and feel completely at ease; two of Anitha’s prize-winning short stories are part of the book which was published that day.
While I had never been to this kind of event before, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I reached the event little late (they had already published the book which Anitha said is the main event!), I think I was present for the best part of it – reading the extracts from the stories which were published in that book.
I was mesmerized when one of the women rendered a paragraph from Anitha’s story – I could not believe that such a voice modulation, clarity and emotion can all be brought in by anyone – especially a frail looking women. I just wanted to sit there and listen to her reading all the stories from that book for ever.
Anitha updated me that it was Jyoti Makhija, one of the famous theatre personalities in Bangalore. It also stuck me later that majority of the participants (including the audience) were women – women who gave a feeling that they are intellectual, who are matured and mostly over 50. It again reiterated the fact that women have more interests in life as a group and still want to believe in fiction.
ps-I was highlighting that I was impressed that lot of women are interested in english literature. I got an immediate response “Women do all the running round. Men sit and write” I liked the intended pun from Anitha on this!! :) :)
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Let me declare that am still a novice on fashion and I continue to work on the mission to better my wardrobe …..!!So, what I am jotting down here are the three basic principles of smart dressing which work in IT industry in India (ideally, it should work globally for other industries also?)
Here goes the three basic principles of smart dressing
• What is the IMAGE you want to project about yourself in your official environment? Mostly, it goes with your value systems is my observation. For me, it is DIGNITY • Dress for your next desk! – Just means that you got to dress for the highest role you are aspiring to reach in your career! If you plan to be the CEO, think how a CEO will dress! • Think what dress you are comfortable with – when you go shopping remember the advice from Sandra Bullock in ‘The blind side’ - “before you choose something, ask yourself IS THIS ME?”
Once you have firmed up the above three, then you are already smartly dressed. While there are many opinions on “how deep the neckline can be ? “to what is the right perfume to wear at work, I strongly feel if you are clear on the above three, you can carry yourself well!
Some of the women who have mastered these are – Priyanka Gandhi (Politics), Indira Nooyi (Business), Bipasha Basu (Entertainment), Mother Theresa (Social), Arundathi Roy (Arts), Sania Mirza (Sports) and Kamala Selvaraj (Medicine)……..
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I just did an informative post for women before this …Women leaders and self-confidence. So, am justified to post this satire actually (God, am i feeling guilty to make fun!? and trying to be defensive and justify this post?). This mailer definitely made me laugh! :)
Disclaimer (oh, yes…..I can put a disclaimer!!): This is not my writing – it is a forwarded mailer with a bold note “send this on to a lady friend. She will get a big chuckle out of it!” If you are someone who cannot stand the jokes which border sarcasm and if you are a guy ..…..i strongly recommend to “you skip this post…”
GONNA BE A BEAR
In this life I am a woman. In my next life, I would like to come back as a bear.
When you are a bear, you get to HIBERNATE. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with it. Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with it too.
When you are a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of the walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake to a partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.
If you are a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.
If you are a bear, your are expected to wake up growling and have excess body fat.
Yup, gonna be a bear!!
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While self-confidence is the basis for any self-improvement, a recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) was very specific about the need for women leaders to be self-confident. Leslie Pratch is the author of this article – she is a clinical psychologist who helps companies identify whether potential executives possess the psychological resources and personality strengths needed to succeed. If you read the 16 page research paper referred in this article, it can become a long read….so i consolidated the key messages which I found helpful …….
You can read the HBR article here…..
– Before a woman answers a question in the corporate scene, it may help to stop and ask yourself a question “do you think a man would have ever answered that question that way?”
– You got be very confident, even though we are so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know. And this will lead to taking risks
– Gender based expectations for behavior influence the styles and evaluations of leaders
– Men are freer to carry out leadership in different styles without encountering negative reactions because their leadership is ordinarily perceived as legitimate
– The findings indicated that women have to have high self-esteem and high self-confidence so that they can cope with the constraints placed on their leadership styles.
- Why Women Leaders Need Self-Confidence (blogs.hbr.org)
Couple of my friends have special children. This has given me some insight into how much additional care is required for the special children. Whatever little I could understand, it made me realize on how critical it is to their parents to constantly look for help to support and coach few basic life skills to their special children. The biggest fear they go through is “how my special child will face the world after me?” and “how much I can coach the child on the basic life skills so that the child can atleast sustain independently”.
I hear the facilities and support for the special children and the acceptance from society is comparatively better in developed countries in North America and Europe. In India it still needs a lot of improvement when it comes to bringing up a special child.
I recently bumped into this smart lady, who use to be my neighbour couple of years back – she is an engineer by profession and it is almost couple of years since I met with her – on that evening, when I met her, we were exchanging the regular pleasantries and checking about each other’s life – family, work, children, time management, festivals…….and what I heard from her was very inspiring.
She has completely shifted her field from engineering to teaching – as a special education teacher in one of the best schools in Bangalore. She has done the required special courses to qualify as a special education teacher in the last two years. I could see the passion in her – she said “you know what is difficult in India? It is still lack of awareness about the need to handle the special children specially – lack of awareness to consider them as a child who needs some additional support in their development and seamlessly interweave them into the regular curriculum…believe me, it takes lots and lots of effort and challenges even with well-educated crowd – even the teachers in the school need lot of coaxing to make this happen – I read a lot, I fight for the special children’s rights at school and I keep looking at what the other countries are doing for them – it takes a lot of my effort – my spouse keeps telling me that I am stressing myself on this ……….but, I want to do it and make the difference in whatever small way to these kids…..”
I was so touched by her passion and for the right cause – I congratulated her and said that it takes lot of courage to do the right thing and stand for it. It honestly makes me feel so energized to see such determination in woman and I am sure she is going to make a difference for the special children and their parents! All the very best and God bless!
It was a very typical Sunday evening but for the heavy rains lashing out – we were waiting after the music class hoping that the rains will stop. Children started talking and playing. I started a polite conversation with another mom who was also waiting for the rain to stop. When I inquired about how long it takes for her to reach home from the class, she said around 1.30 hours. As it was already 7.15 pm, I was calculating that it will be almost 9 pm for her to reach home. So, I made a comment “oh, it will be late for the kids…what time they need to leave home in the morning for school?” (am I being too obsessed with others problems or am I having OCD when it comes to punctuality?). Without getting touched by my unwarranted concern, she very calmly answered “they are home-schooling”. It took me a minute to orient and understand what she meant – while I have heard the concept of home-schooling, I have heard it very infrequently in India – few cases I knew of were from the perspective of specific reasons – security reasons for the royal kids, special children who need additional attention, etc.
Now I became even more curious and my mind was bubbling up with more and more questions….considering the rain gods were at mercy with me, I got into an interviewing mode with her
Why did you decide to do homeschooling?
It was more of an experiment – we wanted our children to be out of the rat race – we wanted them to learn for the sake of knowledge – we can only experiment with our own children
So, how is the schedule of a week day look?
Children get up early and spend time on yoga and pranayama. Then they help me in household chores – after breakfast, they spend around 3 hours per day on studies. As they are now on their own, they study other reference books or research on the internet. In the evening they go for basketball classes and play with the neighbourhood children.
Will they able to manage the board exams when they come to the senior classes (10th grade and 12th grade in India are board exams)?
Yes, ofcourse. The elder one is at 11th grade now and she did pretty well in her 10th classes.
Is homeschooling difficult?
Yes, it is difficult at the initial stages. I spent lot of time with the kids initially . I stopped working full time as homeschooling is possible only if an adult is at home guiding the children..
When I came back home, the conversation was going on replay mode in the back of my mind – made me log into the net and read more about home-schooling. I also happened to hit on this news article where the mom I spoke to and her kids were interviewed already – http://woman.intoday.in/woman/story.jsp?sid=6749
For me, home-schooling sounded like a great concept – making children learn for the sake of knowledge at their own pace and pulling them out of the rat race. While I still have reservations about the children’s view of it (my kids love the fun time they have with their classmates at school and they relate so much to school) and the impact of homeschooling on children’s social skills, I think it needs lots of dedication from the parent (invariably I read only about women supporting homeschooling of their kids full time).
Also, it takes lot of courage and the ability to take a risk if you try any thing which is out of ordinary – definetly the women who are handling the home-schooling for their children seem to be more courageous and is out of the ordinary here in India!!………..
All the best, folks!!!
I was concerned that I am suddenly aggressive and becoming a feminist (do you need to be a woman to call yourself a feminist?)…….reason???Because all these days, I had been proud that I am very objective and look at both sides of the coin for any issue….but two weeks back, this is what happened……
Our house help came that morning as usual – but her face was swollen and she told that her husband hit her because she opened a bank account and moved the money from a private chit fund to savings bank account – given that she is totally independent financially and runs her household with two kids by her own earning, i found no reason for her to let her husband manhandle her……..when I asked her why he hit her, I gathered that it is a common phenomenon………….and I got aggressive and told her – “nodu, Lakshmi…..if he hits you again, just hit him back”….She looked at me and true to her innocence self said ” he is stronger than me, it is difficult to hit him back”………
I never thought before I retorted strongly “take chilli powder and put on his face if he comes to hit you anymore”………..I was fuming…….Later when I relaxed and thought about my advice to her, I was concerned ……….
What happened to me? Did I always have these wild streaks within me?? I was sharing it with my friend saying that I probably have become wild…and not docile as i think of myself. Was a bit conscious that I was reacting to an input without much thought………..
And a week later, I was flabbergasted when i read the front page article in newspaper Deccan Herald Pati, Patni and ten thousand…………..this is about an innovative (!!??) proposal from a state minister in Andra Pradesh, India……….the proposal is for to establish a reward system for women if they beat up their abusive husbands……
While it will take lot of effort to implement such an innovative idea and it is for the government officials to handle this, this news item made me upgrade my concern to worry – an AP ruling minister is thinking like me or vice versa!!…………danger danger………God, save me and my thoughts!!!!! :) :)
ps – if you are yet to watch how the south Indian regional movies portray an AP ruling minister, you will need help from someone who does it to understand why I am worried and reaching out to almighty to save me and my thoughts!! :) :) :)