I am often asked what I feel about women empowerment and women entrepreneurs these days. While I have shared my views many times, I decided to pen down, what being a woman means and really feels like. But then I realized that my words might get lost in the conundrum of appreciative posts and flowery words for my gender that followed this whole month (since we celebrate Women’s day in March). So, I waited for all the dust to settle down while scrolling through my feed, browsing through stories of how my peers have transitioned from self-doubt to magnificence, how some have challenged societal norms with their indomitable spirit, how many have nurtured and created leaders (one at a time), how silently we have been giving and caring all the time and how the world is thankful for all that women have done to shape the world around!
I often see the same sentiment about women from the new age men. They seem to appreciate everything we do and (many times) don’t do. They label us with adjectives like superwoman, out of earth, heavenly etc. But do they understand what it feels like to be a woman. You might argue saying why should it feel any different or maybe with the clichéd quote “women are complex creatures”. But that’s not the point here. Here, the idea is not to label our thought process or our inner battles as some form of complexity. We already know it since we live it every moment while remaining all calm on the surface.
Often we talk about the external circumstances that women need to overcome to live a life they want. But our real struggles go beyond them! Through this piece, I would like to bring it up to the surface not because I want to showcase what we go through every minute inside our head but to highlight the real issues that women need to win over. It is one thing to talk about our issues as an observer and quite a different thing to highlight them as we experience them.
We often talk about comparisons between a man and a woman about potential, responsibilities, income, opportunities etc. But is it really a relevant comparison. For me, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Both have different purposes and roles in our nutrition. Skip one of them for a long time and you will see the changes in your own body! The same goes for men and women. Ignoring women and placing men on a pedestal does not make sense. Both were created with different set of roles to play and these roles have evolved with time and societal development. If that is how dynamic the entire concept is, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to talk about co-operation instead of comparison?
Ever thought why some of us rise from self-doubt to magnificence while some of us spend our lifetimes in the cocoon built for us and still blaming life, luck and everyone else. It is time, we thought more about empowering ourselves rather than looking for excuses. You want to lose weight, get up and walk that mile. You want to write that book, start with the first chapter. You want to become independent, start with the smallest decisions of your life and make them on your own. You want others to seek your opinion, start reading more and influencing the most accessible circle you have with your opinions and see how people react in it. You want a better deal at work at par with your competitors, start thinking like a salesman who wants better prices for his (her) product.
It’s tempting to fall into the trap of blame game and equally tough to get up and do something about it. Empowerment begins when I take responsibility for my problems and then start thinking about ways to solve it.
We all need a support system irrespective of our gender, class or creed. What we also call a tribe. It’s a support system to hang on to during difficult times, celebrate the wins, embrace the failures and seek suggestions. But creating a support system requires trust, non-competitive nature among members and an honest willingness to add value to others. What if we created our own support groups? A group of women that supports each other with an honest intent to sail through difficult times, climb ladder of success (without being competitive), to seek and get selfless advice and to just be there when no one else turns up.
We have done it for our families all the time. What if we did it for our gender?
We often have big dreams for our kids. We want them to be everything we have not been able to become or at times even more than that. But how often have we heard that kids observe more than they listen. There is enough scientific data to prove that kids imbibe everything from their surroundings. If that is the case, then why not we become the example that we want our kids to become?
The points mentioned above are all about us. In fact, it is always about how we frame our situations internally, in our minds. What we aim to do about them? Women who have made it big in life (professionally or personally) know this secret very well.
So, what stops us from living the life we want? It could be a mix of reasons – fear of failure, social abandonment, our mental demons, the “what-if” scenarios etc. If you notice carefully, most of the reasons are all just thoughts in our minds and thoughts are an immensely powerful tool. They create realities – both good and bad. If I feel that I would not be able to manage a particular project at work, I would get nervous about handling it and the result would be a poorly done job. Our thoughts truly shape our realities subtly. How about we tweak them from reasons for not trying to ways of attempting?
It all gets down to stepping out of our comfort zone – be it in our thoughts or reality. Are you willing to do this? Give it a try and see if it’s worth!