Women’s Self Worth Cannot Be Decided By Our Business Cards Or Their Absence Thereof!

Posted: March 8, 2017
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What decides your self worth? Does it matter whether you are a homemaker or a working woman? The author muses today on occasion of #WomensDay.

‘Asia does not support careers for women’, concluded a BBC feature. Not the exact words but gist was about the same. I heard this on radio while driving my daughter to Kumon.

Being an Asian woman who had quit her career for children, it immediately grabbed my attention. After feeling sorry for myself and my geographical location, my next thought was my daughter.

“What had I done? When we moved out of India couldn’t we travel some more and settle in ‘the West’. I gave up my career but I could have bettered the odds for my daughter. Duh!”

I was about to wallow some more in my instant misery while ruminating on the discussion buzzing in my head. Then I realized that ‘I gave up my career’. No one asked me to. I made this decision on my own. Yes, being an Asian did help. The family values, close-knit families and a stable marriage helped me to take that plunge.

Trust me, throwing away your career needs guts and some solid support. It is not easy, everyone tells you to pull along. “It is just difficult for a few years, you’ll get by!” advised friends. But then you need to compromise your time. Decision-time!

What about the man of the house? He left it on me. Full freedom.

Husbands actually are worse off in a SAHM ( stay-at-home-mum) situation. They lose half the income, the right to call their money theirs and an elegantly dressed wife most of the times. In return they get cooked dinners, a reasonably kept house and an irritated-cum-exhausted-with-kids wife. They still go along it because their culture tells them that it is their duty. Asia!

We have this perpetual debate about the calibre of women who work versus those who don’t. Usually, working women score higher here. After all they manage all!

Let’s get this thing straight. Everyone gets 24 hours in a day. You may be smarter, better at time management and an awesome planner. Those things do help. Yet, it is only 24 hours in a day. Everyone needs to sleep, eat, and use the toilet.

So, ultimately you have to make choices. Both working & SAHMs make choices.

Making choices involves giving up something. SAHMs give up careers and working mums give up time with their children and home. Hard choices. No easy way out.

What I don’t understand is how come children and home are always treated less significant than ‘careers’? The careers where you work yourself (most of the times) dead for making money for some distant shareholders. Yes, money and recognition is there. But so is the eventual retirement. Why is ‘career’ so glorified? After all it is just a choice.

Having said that there is no guarantee that SAHM’s children will turn out better or their domestic life would be better. But then how many career women do end up breaking the glass ceiling?

Will the world be a better place if all women work for money? I thought the ideal situation would be robots working instead for everyone!

Honestly, working women or SAHM, neither is better or worse. So, commiserating with Asian women for loss of their careers is a dud for me. Career is one of the decisions we make. Our self-worth cannot be decided by our business cards or their absence thereof.

As we evolve, the rat-race is losing its appeal. Asian philosophy of all rounded happiness has some merit.

So, please do us women a favour… Stop telling us that engineering is better than cooking or vice-versa. We can make our decisions. If we do, we make the world a better place. If not, as someone said, “clip our wings and we will fly on our brooms!”

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Published here earlier.

Image source: shutterstock

Meenakshi Dahiya. Banker turned into a stay-at-home mum who occasionally teaches Economics and is totally convinced that being at home is the most challenging job. Writing is my way of connecting. I pen down my random thoughts hoping it will strike a chord somewhere. Maybe someone will find it easier to agree than expressing it on her own.

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2 Comments


  1. Amazing one and you have nailed it precisely in the last few lines

  2. Sonia Chaavara -

    Excellent post!! I am so glad that on Women’s day Meenakshi, you have written about this. You have made some really solid points to bolster your argument. Whether it is in the home or outside, work is work and just because one gets paid and the other doesn’t should not devalue the unpaid one. In fact, care giving and house keeping are tedious jobs that do require incredible skill and patience and deserve at the very least much respect and praise! Real empowerment of women comes when they themselves acknowledge their contributions to home and society and demand from others the right to equal rights of autonomy, decision making power and respect within home and at work places.

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