Women are from Venus. A common perception and I, being a small town girl and a hopeless romantic, always believed in it for many many years. I had seen strong working women around me including my mom but always paid attention to their feminine side. Everyday when my mom came home after work, I admired how she was clad in a beautiful saree, her jewelry, her smell etc. I never even once thought of the hardships she faced under her bindi and a smiling facet. I never thought about behind the scene action when she wrote in her diary how much was paid for electricity, phone, school fee, tuition, groceries etc.
I never conceptualized that she was working to pay bills or share bills with my dad or how her strength as a working-woman was shaping our present and future. But even being unaware I was aware of one thing, her heroism. Her capability of granting our wishes was extremely magical to me.
How she got up early morning and made sure we get fresh meal. How my father was served his bed tea without a complaint, how she left my pocket money next to my bed before leaving for work.
Yes, heroism is the word for working women. Being a Global citizen now for most of my life, I won’t limit this word to Indian women only but the women across the world. In fact women in east are still confused between being feminine or being masculine and in modern times mostly end up choosing either extreme.
But in progressive parts of the world, women are feminine and at the same time exercise their masculine power as well.
I saw this first after I moved to Beijing, China back in year 2001. I saw women in charge of almost everything. They were driving buses, cabs, working in multinational companies, running small businesses etc. They were everywhere and China was rising to emerge as a major power in international order. This made me realize that how a working woman not only contributes to the progress of a household but also plays a major role in making a great nation.
This was a bigger picture for me which became even bigger as I kept working around these dynamic women.
My next big move in 2003 was to Canada. Banks, Schools, Private businesses, Restaurants, Bars, you name an occupation and you see these vibrant women everywhere. In the west, women don’t enjoy the luxury of getting maids and cooks. They work hard and besides work, they not only try spending quality time with their children but mow the grass and shovel the snow as well. The only plus point is that men are Right thinkers. They understand that they have to participate in household chores to keep things balanced.
This is what is missing in the east. Men have expectations even if the women are working. But this needs to change if they want bread, butter and “Cheese” laid on their table.
After all these years of my life as a working woman around the world and at present working in middle east in a multicultural environment, I have drawn one conclusion and that is … women are both from Venus and Mars and this is what makes them very special. I love the fact when my boss, administrating an international school, asks me before rushing for a board meeting, “is my lipstick fine?”
From Mrs. Gandhi and Mother Terresa to Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Sania Mirza and Priyanka Chopra, all make great examples of the unlimited potential embraced beyond boundaries. They have proved that Sky is the limit for them. I don’t know who decided their role and set their limits but all working women are the Genies out of bottle, magical and charming.
As a mother, I would like to see my daughter in that charmed space.