Let’s break barriers that prevent women from being successful

Let’s break barriers that prevent women from being successful
Sajith Kumar
I read an alarming statistic in the novel, "Lean In" by COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. The following passage is in her words. “The blunt truth is that men still run the world. This means that when it comes to making the decisions that most affects us all, women’s voices are not heard equally. Of the 195 independent countries in the world, only 17 are led by women. Women hold just 20 per cent of seats in parliaments globally. In the November 2012 election in the US, women won more Congressional seats than ever before, bringing them up to 18 per cent. In India, 11 per cent of seats in the parliament are held by women”.

But she goes on to say the role of women in the corporate world is even lower. So, in an equal world, if men and women were to pool in their resources, how strong would that be! Which means half the world population of men could stay home and take care of the children and the house while the other half could run the workplace. Then the decisions affecting us both would be fair. She says in the corporate world, there were more women at the entry level, but at the top it is still a man’s world.

Which makes me think that for women, normally when it comes to marriage, children, running homes and careers, the day just stretches endlessly. And what gives at the seams is her career. What is even more mind-boggling is the average pay creative directors of major advertising companies get abroad. There can’t be a more crazy way for a man to make a fast buck than to convince multi-billionaires to buy an island in the South Pole! Remember the hedge fund managers of yore, whose funds were astounding, whose sons were vagrants and they spoke pretentious gibberish to investors. Okay, forgive me, I got carried away. Though I do wish I could also have a house on the site of what was once a heritage property. I wish I could sell an idea that could bring in millions of dollars my way. I wish I could gift my daughter an airline for her 18th birthday. I wish I was part of a hi-tech, hand picked crew in black suits who form the ranks of the financial SS Money Squad. The way I look at it, there has to be someone to create value, and uphold the royal lineage. Enjoy the benefits, even if not the money. My husband always told me, “I may bring in the money, but you have the power!” He sees my smile broaden to a massive grin (I wonder if he did that just to appease me).

So, I say there is a need to wake up, to bring down the barriers that stop women from ascending to the top. There is subtle and sexual discrimination, there are obstacles, there is little flexibility, but the greatest barrier is the female mindset. Even if we continue to do the housework, we must not lower our expectations of ourselves. Women were and are the warrior race, used to fighting battles whether in boardrooms or bedrooms.

There is this lovely line, by Isaac B Singer, “We must believe in free will. We have no choice”.

(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)


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