If you want to understand how to become better allies to people with disabilities, then join us at Embracing All Abilities: Including People with Disabilities at Work.
What does a professional Indian woman need? Other than the requisite skills, a supportive family. For married women, this should mean a supportive husband.
Finally, I submitted my PhD thesis recently. It was really a tough task, as I had to struggle really hard against the final deadline to submit it. Not that I was lazy, but I couldn’t prioritize my academic growth before other family commitments.
So, I had to use all my time, energy and dedication in the last phase like hitting a six in the last ball of the match. Actually, it is a moment of joy, satisfaction and a sense of achievement for me now. But, I am in a fix and the ‘feminist’ in me asks this question- why has my life partner not eased my work pressure, like I do it for him always, whenever he has professional tensions? To be more specific, he couldn’t comprehend my physical as well as emotional stress of working against the impending deadline of submitting my thesis, along with carrying out my routine family and professional duties. Moreover, this is the first important academic venture I took after my marriage and he failed miserably in my eyes.
What I understand from his attitude towards my profession is that, for him, my academic career is just a salary earning 10 to 5 job, without any extended work carried forward back home, beyond working hours.
I am not blaming him specifically for his apathy here, or that of men in general. But, it is a patriarchal mentality that most men in India grew up with. So, it makes them insensitive about understanding what a ‘professional’ woman partner needs from her life partner. They just take the woman’s support for granted and give back nothing in return. There may be a few exceptions of ‘feminist gentlemen’. Possibly, there is more support for each other, if both partners belong to the same field of work as they understand the work culture. But, I am damn sure they are very few.
So, in this context it is very important to set right our expectations from each other in a relationship. Maybe I am asking for too much.
From my understanding, a man accepts all the support he gets from his woman partner, without being thankful to how major her contribution is, to his success outside. As a result, we see around and hear only about successful men. Though, there are a few exceptional women achievers, if you take a close look at their support system, it includes either their parents or siblings, and the role of a ‘supportive (sacrificing?) husband’ is missing in most of these success stories of women. Further, the case studies of women achievers (in any field for that matter) reveal that, either they remained single or had to become divorcees to fulfil their career aspirations or to reveal their true talent.
Therefore, it becomes important to ask for herself; what does a woman aspire to be in life?
Given a choice, would she stay ‘happily’ within the enclosures of her house and remain a support system to her husband and children and taking care of her extended responsibilities? Or would she juggle between family duties and professional aspirations like the most professional women are doing now? By doing so, letting go of opportunities for professional growth to choose family commitments, in a way curbing her professional growth by drawing a boundary or to call it as a self-constructed ‘glass ceiling’ over her head? Through this juggling process, a woman puts herself into all physical and emotional ailments in her early 40s and invites premature aging.
The third option would be, to keep herself free from these socially accepted and expected attachments, without feeling guilty for not fitting into the ideal womanhood status and concentrate on her self growth. By doing so, she has to forego a number of common pleasures too. Moreover, many eyebrows would rise up and bring uneasiness in the well established and neatly designed gender roles and equations. Left alone, this new woman has to act, behave and talk tough. Many a times, this is a fake identity she has to create to avoid loose talk by people around her, with only a few selected friends knowing her true self. In most cases, such women are misunderstood and misinterpreted in the public view.
Hence, a woman has to decide what role she likes to fit in. Is it a goody goody woman who stresses herself every moment, to painfully create a ‘great’ image of herself before others, by swallowing all her wishes and dreams within? Or a woman who explores her life, no matter what color the world paints her?
Perhaps, a woman would want to have everything like most men have been enjoying since ages. If given a choice, she would like to balance her personal life as well as professional aspirations, with some help from her partner. But, the big question is, are we mature enough yet, as an inclusive society to give her own space to explore her full potential? Sadly, we speak of big terms like ‘gender sensitization’, but keep mum to inequality meted out on a daily basis still. For now, the change in this attitude and outlook is painfully slow and miles to go.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: Twitter
Dr. Jyothi, Assistant Professor of English, Tumkur University. Has been a teacher of English and also soft skills trainer, with special interest in writing poems, articles, short stories and translation both in Kannada and English. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
Please enter your email address