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“My story is no different from millions of others who came before me. I’m the common woman you see on the streets, bazaars, workplaces doing their jobs and going home…”
I believe every person ought to work for a living and there can be no two ways about it. Your being in a better place with silver or golden spoon is no reason why you shouldn’t work.
Work defines your identity and validates your existence in this world.
By work, I don’t just mean being at a workstation or power dressing. It is making an honest living and proving your self worth without a powerful surname or family tags. Work or careers for women provide the essential financial security and stability without which empowerment is an empty word. Careers give women a window to the world and a vision for the future.
When we say working women smash the glass ceiling, it is because they are no longer pushed against the walls of patriarchy that crushed their spirit.
Women working in fields, farms, construction sites, factories, industries, defence services, medicine, science and technology, education, government – unseen, nameless or faceless though they might seem are just as important even though they aren’t spoken of or seen like those from the glamour industry, fashion or media.
Each time I watch a traffic policewoman at the busy crossroad manoeuver hundreds of vehicles in the blistering heat, undeterred, seeking no special treatment because of her gender, armed with only a whistle, without any cheering or claps, I can only admire her grit and tenacity.
When women toil in fields, farms or construction sites only to return home to chores and half empty bellies, when I think of the thousands who travel in gruelling subhuman conditions in public transport beating the heat, crowds or prowling hands to prove their rightful existence, is when I’m proud to be a woman who holds up the other half of the sky, spirits undaunted.
My story is no different from millions of others who came before me. I’m the common woman you see on the streets, bazaars, workplaces doing their jobs and going home, who lived in anonymity when nobody gave a second glance until we carried a fake Vuitton or Prada and have no pretensions or claims to have changed the world or others’ lives.
My identity is as a mother’s daughter, shaped by women ironically tagged patriarchal names like every other. My mother migrated to Mumbai after marriage armed with her proud SSLC, typing and shorthand certificates hopeful of finding a job. Yes, she did take up one, which wasn’t a very regular thing to do those days when women hardly stepped outside the umbhartha (thresholds) of their homes.
Education and financial independence are our ticket to self respect she taught me: an advice that will stay with me.
Remember to never give up, come whatever may, marriage and children are only a part, not our whole lives. Often, I was tempted to throw away my job, but, remembered her words in a stern kind of warning – you mess up your life if you short-change your priorities.
She felt that home, husbands, kids, in-laws are excuses to not keep your job – unless you have legacy or inheritance. What she really meant was that a job brought much needed stability in relationship equations for women, putting them in a position to negotiate the terms of endearment.
Today if taking a break, or a sabbatical are new concepts unheard of by women of my generation, just like flexible timings, work from home and start-ups that offer better possibilities, women are definitely in a better place today than we were before.
Nobody asks a man of his choice whether to work, so why then must it be any different for a woman? Why must women be expected to stay at home and look after families when it’s supposed to be a responsibility for both partners to keep a home running? Raising kids, in-laws, chores aren’t sufficient reasons to not have careers, unless it is a dire situation.
Yes, I went on to work for 28 years with the Income Tax department and finally resigned to do something different. My job with the revenue services earned me security for which I’m thankful, but I turned to do what always I loved…teaching. Today, I am a volunteer teacher for underprivileged kids in a local Hindi medium school. I’m doing my bit towards a society that raised me to become what I am. I’m a blogger with multiple digital publishing platforms. Yes, it was an uncertain start with a format so new and meant for millennials they said, but, never should you give up on what you want from life. I love sharing life stories with people who care to listen. No, I don’t have resources or extraordinary talents than knowledge, education and experiences of life.
So, women keep the flag flying..someday when you look back on the journey, you must have the satisfaction of having found a reason for your existence and a life worth lived.
p.s: Ordinary people have extraordinary experiences. Try and hear the story of the woman next to you – it’s only that we never knew of them.
#GettingtoEqual is an Accenture initiative that’s all about creating a culture of equality. How do we move ahead and inspire more women to chase their dreams at work? With that goal in mind, our readers have been sharing their #GettingToEqual stories. You can find many more unique stories here.
Top image is from the Hindi movie Tumhari Sulu
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. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, you can request to be a Women's Web contributor too!
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