Thoughts On Female Empowerment From Four Iconic Women

It is a blessed feeling to envision a world that is built on the pillars of diversity, inclusion, harmony, and fairness. International Women’s Day 2024 is based on a brilliant theme: Inspire Inclusion. The presence of women in all walks of life is important because they are the backbone of families and communities.

A woman in her different avatars can create wonders. As we talk about female empowerment and gender equality, there are an infinite number of questions and issues that we need to ponder upon.

How difficult is it for a woman to strike a balance between her responsibilities at home and in the workplace?  Are women as powerful as men? How important is it for women to support other women? How should the aging process be handled? The list just does not end.

I pick four phenomenal women who are icons of woman power. Over the years, they have shared their take on these issues that are often discussed in today’s world.

“I don’t think women can have it all” – Indra Nooyi

It is a big task for a woman to efficiently manage both work and her family, and she cannot do it all by herself. Former CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi explains that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. When a woman plans to have kids, that could also be the time when she actually needs to build her career. Then again, as she reaches middle management, her role as a mother warrants that she give attention to her teenage children. She shares how she and her husband really had to work hard to meticulously plan their life and make sure their girls were cared for.

According to Nooyi, there are not as many woman CEOs because they face the challenge of juggling work and their families. She feels that young family builders and women need adequate support for the advancement of their careers.

Nooyi imparts an intelligent piece of advice to young women who dream of reaching the summit. She tells them to think carefully about what they want from life:

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“Think hard about the climb to the top. It is a pyramid. It gets very, very steep… Once you decide to go for it, build a support structure that\’s second to none because that\’s what you\’re going to need.”

“A woman has to be stronger than a man” – Sudha Murty

A trailblazer who inspires millions, author and philanthropist Sudha Murty’s journey to break the glass ceiling dates back to the 1970’s. In her early twenties, she had confronted industrialist J.R.D Tata on his company’s sexist hiring policies.

Murty advises young women to be bold and to speak their minds at work. If they feel that they are qualified for any job, they need to move forward themselves to reach the goal.

Humility is what defines Murty, and among others, one of her greatest qualities is her terrific sense of humor. During a conclave at Bengaluru, she said: “I just want to tell all young entrepreneurs that it is very difficult to deal with a more successful man. They are not normal, they are eccentric, they don’t have logic at home – only in the office\”.

Acting as the perfect cheerleader, she appreciated the power of women and continued: “And a woman has to be stronger than a man. He (Murthy) may be very strong in his company, but I am double of that. Every entrepreneur’s wife, I feel, she is more gifted, more hard-working than their husband, a better manager, an excellent CEO, and a great companion”.

“We cannot be catty” – Michelle Obama

Women need to be there for each other for the upliftment of their sorority. Former First Lady of the USA Michelle Obama strongly believes that unless women all over the world love, value, and cherish each other, there will be no progress. Like a best friend, one woman needs to hold the other’s back to provide support at all times.

Obama points out that we are sometimes taught the wrong thing: that only by competing and holding someone back can we succeed.

She stresses that we cannot be catty and adds, “We cannot compete and see one person’s failure as our success. We can all rise together. We can all win.”

Being told I’m ageless isn’t right” Cindy Crawford

Aging is a natural process, and a woman should accept these physical changes with pride and dignity. American supermodel Cindy Crawford, in an interview with Haute Living, said that being called ageless puts too much pressure on her. She is happy with the way that she is and does not want to look like a 25-year-old because she is not one.

She is aware that her face has gotten much thinner and that her mouth is not as full, but she embraces these changes happily and does not let them come in the way of her career path. Although she sometimes does not feel as confident, authenticity is what she values, and she keeps her real self going. In Crawford’s words: “Aging is what happens if we’re lucky… It means that I’m alive.”

It is not a smooth ride. With the jolts and bumps, women need to continue their journey. And only by being persistent and proactive can they facilitate the process of creating a playground of which equality, inclusion, respect, and acceptance are the cornerstones.

With the special occasion on March 8, here’s to wishing all women around the globe a very happy International Women’s Day!

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About the Author

Rashmi Bora Das

Rashmi Bora Das is a freelance writer settled in the suburbs of Atlanta. She has a master’s degree in English from India, and a second master’s in Public Administration from the University of read more...

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