Women made up just 24.8% of India’s labour force in 2020, as per a study by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).
Lack of flexible policies at work, safe transport options, pay-parity, and work-life balance, are significant reasons for women to stay away from workforce.
Worse still, the few women who do make it to leadership positions are under more scrutiny than their male counterparts.
If a woman were to take a softer approach to leadership, she would be chided for being indecisive. If she adopts a strong approach, she would be perceived as too rigid for her gender. Being assertive and confident is equated to ‘bitchy’ and ‘crude’ for women.
But, it is 2021 and we cannot wait anymore for women to join the workforce and be financially independent.
Ambition Versus Social Conditioning
Ambition is essential to excel in one’s career; yet, the word ambition strikes a starkly negative connotation when used in conjunction with women. Not to forget, women are exposed to early social conditioning, where they are taught to be gentle and kind. The core traits of an ambitious leader like focus and determination are not compatible with such ideologies.
For women, the choice then is between fighting the perception or fighting for the end goals. Honest conversations with small groups of people are often the best way. On the other hand, if you can stay unfazed by “what people would say,” working towards a goal is the best way forward. There is nothing as powerful in shifting mindsets as a good dose of success.
Define your success, in terms that make you happy, and do not be afraid to pursue them with gusto. The only person who needs to be satisfied with your choices is you, and in that equation, there is no right or wrong choice. Ask yourself this- am I happy today?
If the answer isn’t a clear ‘yes’, do not be afraid to change things up a bit! And if people perceive this change as being ‘wrong’, that judgment is on them, and them alone.