Shakti is ‘she’.

It is not surprising that the word for ‘power’ is personified by the divine feminine. The abilities of a woman are infinite, her potential limitless, and she alone is the primal force that completes the circle of life—there could be no yang without yin! In fact, as I say time and again, every woman has the capacity to create, nurture, transform and lead, with her emotional intelligence, adaptability and intangible strengths. No matter her background, circumstance or story, she holds this latent power in her grasp.

I learnt this early on in life. I am blessed to have been born in a family brimming with shakti—my mother Meenakshi had eight daughters and one son. And as the youngest, and the apple of her eye, I got the best of her. It was almost as if she channelled all her learnings as a mother into nurturing me. I also got the best of my sisters; the first five were much older and like mothers to me. They reinforced what my progressive parents taught us every day: we were all goddesses, devis, assets to our family, never liabilities; we were their true wealth; and that there were no limits to what we could achieve.

This support and belief formed the bedrock of my life and paved the way for me to grow and evolve into the person I am today. Over time, my husband and in-laws, my extended family and my own children have strengthened this foundation further, providing me with a force-field of support and love. However, while our relationships can empower us, the ability to craft our destinies, ultimately, rests with us. It is vital that women understand this.

Unfortunately, years of marginalisation have made Indian women forget our innate worth, as I wrote in an article in Businessworld magazine recently. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap Report ranks India a dismal 108 out of 145 countries on economic, healthcare, education and political parameters. Our country is consistently adjudged among the most dangerous for women. And a study by New York-based Centre for Talent Innovation, while lauding Indian women as ‘superwomen’ for balancing home, work and family, contends that they face the greatest barriers to both personal and career growth.

We need to do better—as a society, as a country—and strive for institutional change. More significant, women need to look within and draw from our own repository of strength and resilience. Self-belief is the engine of self-actualisation; the seven incredible female pioneers in the pages of Harmony-Celebrate Age this month are testament to this. Connect with the goddess within you—and you will learn that you are, indeed, shakti.

By Tina Ambani

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
March 2017