Celebrating women

In my view, there’s one word that encapsulates the essence of a woman: Shakti.

The power of a woman is all-encompassing – she represents the full circle, from creation to completion… mother, daughter, sister, wife, colleague, nurturer and giver at every phase in life: a born multitasker. We also know the deep reserves of strength every woman holds within her—and the extent of this strength is astounding!

At the workplace, in addition to their emotional intelligence, ability to be more intuitive and creative, and aptitude for organisation and planning, recent global studies have shown that women contribute greatly to organisational health by valuing their teams, being more collaborative, and enabling flexibility and innovation. Also, women in leadership positions can be more assertive and willing to take more risks than their male counterparts, as well as be more open, inclusive, focused and determined.

Indeed, we have always had strong women leaders in India, from the political to the business sphere, from grassroots gram panchayats to entrepreneurship and small businesses. This includes silver women; in fact, age has never been a barrier to the pursuit—and achievement—of excellence.

But then, there’s a paradox. Misogyny and sexual abuse still run rampant; gender bias, archaic mindsets, and lack of opportunity and recognition remain the order of the day.

I recently read The Forest of Enchantments, a beautiful take on the Ramayana from Sita’s perspective, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni—watch out for an exclusive interview with her on this site! Her book reinforced to me the reality that some dilemmas remain constant through the ages, some travails timeless when it comes to women having a voice of their own.

Clearly, we still have much work to do to eradicate gender biases at home and in the workplace—as mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, colleagues and friends, companies and institutions—to allow women to leverage their skills, circumstances and opportunities the way they can do best.

However, I firmly believe the real change-agents in this process of inclusion need to be women themselves. We must shed the embedded mindsets and guilt that halt our progress. We have to enable ourselves and each other to live our healthiest, best life; to take every opportunity that comes our way and pursue our passions. We need to empower each other by creating a network of encouragement and support that allows us to live life on our terms. And we must elevate every woman in our orbit—recognise each milestone they accomplish and celebrate every achievement as we would our own.

Believe it, live it, and make it happen. Happy Women’s Day to all our women readers—and the wonderful men who support us!

By Tina Ambani

March 2019