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Why Do We Think It’s Wrong For A Woman To Be ‘Too Ambitious’?

I wanted to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting 'win' moments. 

My daughter turned eight years old in January, and among the various gifts she received from friends and family was an absolutely beautiful personal journal for self-growth. A few days ago, she was exploring the pages when she found a section for writing a letter to her future self. She found this intriguing and began jotting down her thoughts animatedly.

My curiosity piqued and she could sense it immediately. She assured me that she would show me the letter soon, and lo behold, she kept her word.

I glanced at her words, expecting to see a mention of her parents in the first sentence. But, to my utter delight, the first thing she had written about was her AMBITION. Yes, the caps here are intentional because I want to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting ‘win’ moments.

‘Ambition’ has long been a negative for ‘good’ women

Do I really need to explain why it is such a big deal when girls prioritise their ambition and own it? For long, ‘ambitious’ has largely been considered as an adjective with a negative connotation for women.

So many fictional stories in pop culture, including books as well as movies, have further perpetuated this notion over the years and cemented this perception. In fact, when I recall some of these stories today, I understand and empathize with the female characters that were villainized for choosing their careers at the crossroads of their lives. When a man is ambitious, he is given a pat on the back for his dedication and professionalism, but when a woman is ambitious, she is often discouraged or mocked for not being ‘domestic’ enough, or is also viewed as ‘aggressive’ or ‘power-hungry’ at times.

However, I am glad that we now have several women role models and leaders to look up to and get inspired by for having walked the talk. They have demonstrated their brilliance in their respective fields and have also created a significant impact on the society. These are the stories we need to share with our young girls. These are the journeys we need to write about for future generations to read. We need to acknowledge and appreciate that a woman who is passionate about her career can very well do justice to her personal life and relationships like any individual can for that matter.

Repeat after me –

An ambitious woman does not mean a selfish woman.

An ambitious woman does not mean a homewrecker.

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An ambitious woman does not mean an aggressive woman.

An ambitious woman definitely does not mean an insensitive woman.

Let’s celebrate them today!

Image source: a still from the film Piku

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About the Author

Anupama Dalmia

Multiple award winning blogger, influencer, author, multi-faceted entrepreneur, creative writing mentor, choreographer, social activist and a wanderer at heart read more...

106 Posts | 715,400 Views

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