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Why are successful women always considered to have reached where they are due to a combination of unsavoury characteristics and circumstances?
Here’s a riddle for you. What do Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Ritu Karidhal, Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi, KK Shailaja, Shikha Sharma, Arundhati Bhattacharya have in common?
Why, it’s utterly simple. They are the luckiest women ever! Isn’t that the guru mantra for successful women everywhere?
Take a large pot of your bhagya, stir in some basic education, add copious amounts of luck and there you have it. The potent brew that has fortuitously elevated many a languishing lolitas into the dizzying heights of success and fame.
It simply irks me when callous comments are made about successful women.
Image source: Outlook Money
A recent headline from a national publication that caught my attention was – From Chores to Crores. While the remaining article might have been well meaning, highlighting success stories of certain women, the headline seemed to come from the clickbait stable.
In my head it conveyed that the denizens of sinks and soiled clothes had now become HNIs by some ‘stroke of luck’. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to acknowledge what went into their accomplishments, the toil, the education, the sacrifices, the choices made in order to get to where they are, instead of trivialising their journey down to their net worth?
It made me think of a bunch of women sitting at slot machines in casinos, waiting for their luck to turn and then dancing the macarena after hitting the jackpot. Not a terribly inspiring visual is it?
An avuncular and much-deified superstar who we have all come to love even in his host avatar, recently made a gaffe that would have the most unconcerned of audiences cringe like they had just sucked on a potent wedge of lime.
When a contestant on his show was asked to identify a lady and the organisation she was associated with, he commented with a beatific smile. I quote, ‘Her face is so beautiful that no one can relate her to the economy.’ Hain? Since when did the minimum eligibility criteria for the Chief Economist with the IMF change to those for a beauty pageant contestant.
Gita Gopinath gushed and thanked him on Twitter for the mention, but the rest of us were left scratching our heads and running to the mirror to check our bushy, untamed eyebrows, wondering if we fit the bill. See how deeply ingrained this mindset is? I bet the poor man meant no harm, but he articulated what many the world over believe. That women don’t belong in some spheres and certain industries, and the ones that get there are an aberration.
Women are also to blame for shackling themselves to this self- limiting mindset. According to a global study, a large percentage of successful women believe that their growth and ascent can be attributed to company culture, understanding colleagues and a plethora of environmental factors, that they considered themselves ‘lucky’! Itna self doubt?
Of course all those factors play a role but what about their personal skill and effort? Why must we always be apologetic and short change ourselves? Perhaps because ‘bragg-y’, ‘overconfident’ women are considered ‘unbecoming’. I am a great believer in destiny and I consider myself the desi Rhonda Byrne incarnate, but believing in one self, as far as I am concerned, never hurt a fly and goes a long way.
Here’s to a day when the sun shines and people truly believe that every well paid and successful actress has NOT slept her way to the top, that every celebrated sportswoman has gained the recognition on her mettle and merit, that every professional woman has not batted her eyelashes and swayed her derriere to the cabin with the best view.
Merit, determination and tenacity can go a long way. Sometimes so far, that lady luck might just have to wait her turn!
First published here.
Image source: Free pic on CanvaPro
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