Luxuries of working #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

I joined one of the leading MNC’s as an Analyst. I felt a sense of pride as my new shiny black heels made a click clack sound on the spotless shiny floors. Mom had bought me a new “HideDesign” handbag as a gift. I looked around as I walked towards my desk. The corner offices beckoned me. I could see  very senior people, most of whom were serious looking as they typed furiously on their computer. Empty cups of coffee lay on their desk and photos of their loved ones adorned one part of the side table.

I will be there one day in a corner office with a gleaming name plate “Myra R” displayed at the office door. Of course, I will not drink so much caffeine I made a mental note, juices should be just fine for me!

When I joined , I never quite realised why people were speaking so much about gender diversity. I saw so many women on the floor, almost 50%. It almost felt to me like they were making a mountain of a molehill. But slowly as I stayed longer and grew faster , I could see what was wrong. And it enraged me. The number of women was dwindling, it kept becoming thinner as I moved higher up the ladder.

When hiring, things like marriage, maternity leave, women with kids who will not focus enough on the job were often spoken about. It made me question- well nothing much can be done about maternity because God has endowed women with a womb which bears children. But marriage, responsibility  of kids- these questions , if a matter of concern should be one for men too. Don’t men get married and what if they have to move if their wife finds a good opportunity? Isn’t childcare the responsibility of men too?

I asked many questions, challenged people, I always had something to say at meetings, I am super good at my job, confident and bold- you can imagine I don’t have many takers. I do have a few good people who believe in me – thats because they believe in meritocracy. But for the larger population I am just a woman who has grown too fast, who has an opinion on everything and has benefitted from “diversity”. The “Diversity Candidate” that’s how they like to call me. I have learnt overtime to develop a heart of steel, a thick skin as they call it.

When they cant digest the fact that a woman has progressed and moved far ahead than them, find a convenient excuse.

2 things that my experience in the corporate world taught me-

Not all men are bad- there were many who supported me in my career, trusted me, gave me the right opportunities and propelled my career. I would always be thankful to them.

As a woman, helping other women in their career is my duty. There was someone who once helped me and its important to keep that circle moving. Having more women in the workplace requires each one of us to make a conscious effort. Its not just a number game where you talk about a % of women and your job is done. Its a continuous process of making each and every woman out there feel valued, empowered and make her believe that she can achieve her dreams. Her aspirations at work matter just as much as her aspirations as a mother.

I just bought my first “Louis Vuitton” handbag. Celebrating my big promo. Life feels good. The perks of a working woman.

Linking up with #BlogchatterA2Z

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Image courtesy- Huffington Post

My theme for the challenge is

“A slice of life through Myra’s eyes” – a fictional tale of growing up and learning some vital lessons about self love, feminism, sisterhood, a working woman and the essence of being a woman in urban India.  

47 thoughts on “Luxuries of working #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

  1. You know me well by now, Akshata. M glad that women like Myra and you are pushing grounds and crowds to make your way. But, it just boils me up to see the plight of women everywhere today too. We are only dominated, pushed and shushed down. In everything. And when men or the society sees are uprising they resort to violence trying to prove that they are still the powerful lot. Are they really? Women bear everything and still live, live trying to be happy. And these men call themselves powerful. I wish I could just shake women hard enough to tell them that it’s high time we stand for ourselves. These men will.not have a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True Rashi I know you have strong views about this and thats why I tagged you. We have to keep talking, questioning these illogical norms and bring change – for ourselves and our daughters

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  2. A universal problem. In my day children (listen closely, I am old) a young woman had few choices — wife, teacher, secretary, nurse, flight attendant. Doors broke down. My daughter has a master’s degree. My granddaughters are young, but they will break down more doors. Someday, we will command all industries. It is a slow process. It may not seem as if progress is being made, but it is, my daughters around the world. Keep pushing. Educate. Keep moving the line.

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  3. Dear Myra congratulations on your LV. It won’t be long before you get your Prada and Hermes’ Birkin but one day you will find it hard to go to work leaving your baby behind. Of course men don’t give up jobs just because they’re fathers but mothers actually bear the child for 9 months !

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  4. Personally not big on either fashion or accessories but whole heartedly support you Myra and proud that you are following your heart, because that’s what the goal of feminism is, to let each woman make the choices that work for her, most of her life and do whatever makes her happy as long a sit doesn’t hut anyone else.

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  5. Unfortunately, this subject has been topical for far too long now. For every one step our society takes forward, it moves two steps back. Imagine Clare Foy, who played the TITLE role in The Queen, got less money than the actor who played her husband, a much smaller role. The good thing is that these things are increasingly being talked about, and public shame is doing the trick at certain places due to the impact of social media.

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  6. This is a universal issue, the disparity in the ratio of women vis a vis men. But, there are a lot of factors that are responsible which lead to this gap. I hope Myra continues to break the glass ceiling. Also, people have different priorities at different points in life. I wish it was much simpler for women to continue to be in the workforce.

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  7. I agree with you, Akshata, that women should be encouraged to work. The one thing that distinguishes you from other female feminists is that you empathize with men & women, equally.

    Your post reminded me some exchanges between Buddha and one of his disciples.
    Disciple: Why don’t you make everyone enlightened?
    Buddha: Does everyone really want enlightenment?
    Disciple: Isn’t it the case?
    Buddha: Go find out. You’ll get an idea by asking each people of this village only.

    I guess the case is same here also: Does every woman really want to work?

    Some women leave their new born in day-care centres & go to job while some leave their job to nurse their child. Some women do not use their husband’s surname after marriage while some flaunt them as precious jewels. And, I’m comfortable with either decision.

    As far as gender disparity at work is concerned, I think the gap is being narrowed owing to recent awareness. The women may not have equal opportunities at lower rugs, but in my humble opinion, there’s no such discrimination at the top. Take the example of banking sector, Chanda Kochhar, Shikha Sharma, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Naina Kidwai, etc. There are also many others who are at the top in other sectors as well, like Indira Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Indu Jain, etc.

    And, yes, childcare is the responsibility of men, too. I also know some Stay At Home Dads. Sid is quite famous SAHD in blogosphere.

    Also, some female friends confided in me that it’s women who are more jealous than men by the success of other women. I hope you know better than me on this front.

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    1. Thanks for the one Ravish I am glad you think that I empathize with men too- I always look at feminism as equality and men need to be involved too. I agree completely that the choice of a mom maybe to spend time with her child rather than involve herself in the mindless corporate grind and that’s perfectly fine. It’s her choice. But what about those who are keen to make a career? Or those who want to restart their career? How supportive is the eco system. Unfortunately it is not at all supportive barring a few rare instances. For every Chanda Kochhar you see a 100 male CEO’s on the other side. I had 2 women approach me just this week who have taken a career break and one of them was forced to accept a job at a lower designation which mars her confidence each day. The other is still looking out. These stories make me cringe

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      1. Well, I don’t bother about eco system because it isn’t under my control. My actions are under my control not others. I believe no unsupportive system could stop you if you really want something because then the entire universe conspires to make it happen. The best example of this is Carl Brashear. He was the first African American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver despite all odds. The movie Men of Honor is inspired from his life. I find the movie very inspiring.

        Everything depends on how you see things. It isn’t the quantity of water in a glass that makes it half-empty or half-filled but your attitude. As I see, it couldn’t be mere coincidence that the top three banks in India had female executives on the very top AT THE SAME TIME: Chanda Kochhar (MD cum CEO, ICICI Bank), Shikha Sharma (MD cum CEO, Axis Bank), and Arundhati Bhattacharya (Chairman, SBI). There must be some undergoing change in the system.

        Btw, I see Chanda Kochhar succeeded in a competition with 100 men. Equal opportunities were available for all and she was chosen because of her merit.

        I, too, know someone who has taken a career break because of some personal problems, and when he decided to come back after two years, he was forced to accept a job at a lower designation. Having said that, I acknowledge the fact that it’s harder for women in some cases but not all.

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      2. That’s easier said than done I am a part of this eco system and that’s why I feel it has a crucial role to play. Ones own will and determination play a big role no doubt but fighting a system which doesn’t support you and rising above it is not easy and hence we see a minuscule % of women in C suite. I wouldn’t want to argue more about it so let’s leave it at that! I do appreciate your comments each time as they add new perspective , keep them coming

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      3. I, too, believe in agree to disagree but would like to clarify two things:

        1. Yes, it’s easier to say than actually following it, but the ones who follow become successful. This is the reason we have miniscule percentage of successful people in the word.
        2. I know that the system is not supportive, and in that case, I see only two options: either feel sad & blame the system or try my best to succeed in the existing system, and I believe in choosing the latter. And, of course, it’s my personal choice.

        I’d like to conclude by quoting a few lines from the poem The Cup by Vivekananda:

        This is your road – a painful road & drear
        I made stones that never give you rest
        I set your friends in pleasant ways & clear
        and he shall come like you, unto my breast
        But, you, My child, must travel here
        This is your task it has no joy nor grace

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  8. I am happy for you. Most women who grow too fast in the corporate or any world have to hear the whisper that “she pulled herself up with her bra strings” when a man climbs up the ladder it is because of his hardwork when a woman climbs up it is because she slept with the boss.
    No body questions a father how he manages his home and children alongwith his job but a mother is always asked. I am glad for your Lois Vuitton bag Myra.

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  9. Its the sad reality of our society. Although we see things changing, there is still a long way to go. Hope to see things change in the near future. Glad Myra is happy and progressing.

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  10. Loved this. Your pieces always speak to me Akshata and when I am faced with such situations at the workplace, I do often think of you and how you would react. You have inspired someone miles apart wothout even knowing it-so, thank you!

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  11. She does keep learning the harsh realities of life. Takes me back to how I felt joining the first job. So well done 🙂 and the powerful message stays in each post 🙂 That’s the best about this series.

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  12. Gender diversity has indeed become the new buzzword at workplaces, at least in MNCs. But it still isn’t being practised in spirit, it’s more like paying lip service. Women are being recruited, but not enough is being done to retain them. And yeah, women employees and bosses should help female employees – they can provide guidance, experiences and perspectives, and offer practical solutions.

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  13. This post hits home as I am about to continue work after my maternity leaves. There is always this shadow of doubt in people’s mind if I will be able to put as much effort as others. Gender diversity is a big word and we have loads to do.

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