#WomenShould: The Things That We Do In Spite Of It

So another Women’s Day that came and passed. I managed to stay away from the hoopla that would try to sell me more cocktails, impractical shoes and unrealistic romance, in the guise of empowering me. I’ve written about my dissatisfaction with the fact that this doesn’t actually empower women, let alone women across different socioeconomic strata. But I’ve had a different thought this year. I went through a similar thought cycle with Valentine’s Day, reacting with excitement, then cynicism, then indifference and finally conscious acceptance. Both days serve as symbolic references, when we remind ourselves to think about important things and how we’re faring on them. My disappointments have not been with the concept of either day itself but with the results of the drive, the stark differences between what should be and what really is.

I live a charmed life, of a sort. Freedom to vote, to love who I will, rights over my body, to my privacy, the power to choose a career, a partner and a lifestyle. But I am not the majority, not even a significant minority. Attitudes still run largely in the direction of dictating how a woman can and should live her life. To be born a woman is to carry the shackles of ‘Women Should’ for the rest of one’s life. Awhile ago, an NGO study showed some insightful things. When you searches online for the phrase ‘women can’ or ‘women should’, the auto-prompts that are thrown up (based on popular search strings) reveal just the kind of attitude women battle every single day. Yes, even women like me, with our hallowed lives.

If this search were to be taken as a key pointer, it would seem like the internet believes that women can or should do very little. Yet, I know this is not true. We’re not all crusaders. But every woman I know, lives beyond the definition imposed on her from birth, in her own unique way. There is the student who negotiates with her family, promising to marry whoever they want her to, if she can pursue the education of her choice. There is the mother who waits patiently, through pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, preschool and primary till her children are old enough, and then goes back to the career she left behind. There’s a daughter-in-law who chooses an education system that will allow her to fulfil her family duties and gathers familial support before she enrols. Womanhood, if it is standing up to hostile elements, it is also about finding a way around the restrictions the fall in one’s path.

Bajaj Allianz is doing an interesting campaign to combat the results of the study I mentioned above. They ask you to type in a search string using the term ‘Women should…’ that involves a positive, empowering message. Let’s take this phrase back and own it, I think.

Here are the searches I did. The women around me inspired these statements.Because they exist. We exist. And it’s time to let the internet know too.

Women should go back to their studies.
Women should be ambitious.
Women should dance for fun.
Women should be engineers.
Women should be daring.
Women should take risks in their careers.
Women should talk back.
Women should wear what they want to.
Women should propose.
Women should earn more than their partners.
Women should travel alone.
Women should rescue people.
Women should be loud enough to be heard.
Women should be seen and heard.
Women should be leaders.
Women should talk about sex.
Women should be famous.

I’m also posting a series of snapshots of some of these women on my Instagram stream using the hashtag #WomenShould.

Add your stories to the #WomenShould movement too.

‘Management Lessons from Working Mothers’ by Bajaj Allianz Jiyo Befikar Women

*This is a sponsored post.

After a very successful webinar event last month, Bajaj Allianz Jiyo Befikar Women brings us another event this week. This is a Mother’s Day special to honour working mothers.

In the traditional role of a housewife, women have managed budgets, help staff, inventory and multiple schedules. They’ve been multi-taskers and astute managers. As mothers, they’ve balanced teaching, discipline, health, love and numerous other things that go into being a good parent. In the recent years, more and more of them have come into the workplace and continue to prove their mettle to the world. But they also continue to fulfill their roles as loving mothers and proud homemakers.

The ‘Working Mothers Management Tips’ Contest

Who better to give a lesson in management than this lady who’s juggling diapers, balance sheets, groceries and her own health? This week, we ask working mothers for tips on good management, based on their own experiences. These could do with work-life balance, time management, overcoming personal challenges or any of the other ways in which working professionals who are also mothers successfully juggle their multiple roles.

If you are a working mother or you know someone who is, share a working mom management tip on Twitter:  . The contest begins tomorrow, 10 May and will run on till 11 May. Five worthy tweets will bag prizes from Bajaj Allianz.

The ‘Management Lessons from Working Mothers’ Webinar

And that’s not all. On Saturday, Jiyo Befikar Women will host the grand finale: a webinar on ‘Management Lessons from Working Mothers’.

The panelists are:

Deepa Malik: This international sportswoman is a Limca Record holder and has also been a participant in several auto rallies, despite the fact that she has been a wheelchair-bound paraplegic for over a decade. This hasn’t stopped her from achieving remarkable glory in sports too, as she has won gold medals in events like javelin and discus throw in the Malaysia Paralympics featuring 13 countries.

Roopa Kochhar has been identified as one of the top 100 women in Allianz, after she single-handedly set up the team that manages over 3500 employees. At 35, she is also one of the youngest Human Resource heads, especially for a company the size of Bajaj Allianz. Roopa is a big proponent of women-friendly and women-secure workplaces. She splits her time between heading the Human Resource division, managing the operations for the Bajaj Allianz Staffing Solutions Division and bringing up her 4 year old son.

Namrata Arora Singh is a talent development expert. with over 13 years of experience with some of the big names in the corporate world and professionally training as an instructional designer, performance consultant and small business entrepreneur, Namrata is a corporate heavyweight. She specializes in coaching women through transitions in life and at work.

Mahima Tankha Marwa is a pioneer of social media as a sales channel. Her 11 years of experience include setting up and successfully driving the websales channel for Bajaj Allianz. Mahima’s other big priority is her 3 year old daughter, with whom she packs in as many activities as possible.

Deepa Malik, Roopa Kochhar, Namrata Arora and Mahima Tankha Marwa will talk about their lives as working mothers building successful careers. Hosting this discussion will be Ajay Gupta, Head of Web Design & Digital Marketing, Bajaj Allianz. The webinar will be broadcast live at 12:45 pm on Saturday, 12th May. The winners of the ‘Working mothers management tip contest’ will also be announced during this event.

I will be covering the event on Twitter. Register for the webinar at Jiyo Befikar Women, share a #MgmtLessonsFromMom tip or ask the panelists a question by Tweet #JiyoBefikarWomen.

Schedule: Management Lessons from Working Mothers

Twitter contest on #MgmtLessonsFromMom: 10-12 May 2012
Webinar on Jiyo Befikar Women: 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, 12 May 201

Connect

Facebook: Jiyo Befikar, Jiyo Befikar Women
Youtube: jiyobefikar
Blog: Jiyo Befikar Women
Gmail: jiyobefikar@gmail.com

Official:
Contest:
Webinar coverage:

Bajaj Allianz Jiyo Befikar awards ‘The Most Inspirational Working Women 2012’

* This is a sponsored post.

Bajaj Allianz’s Jiyo Befikar Women is running a poll on ‘The Most Inspirational Working Women 2012’. The finalists include 9 participants from various fields and showcasing different achievements. There are also two special mentions who did not qualify for the contest but have been featured because they deserved recognition too.

The nominees

Each of these 11 women has a story of personal glory, ranging from extreme sporting triumphs to overcoming a health condition to give back to society. A lot of the women have broken ground in areas that are traditionally seen to be men’s forte. Others juggle parallel lives with multiple interests, activities and jobs, all with aplomb, being poster girls for womanhood’s multi-tasking abilities.

The nominees are:

1. Annam Suresh, Kolkata
Development Journalist whose work covers commercial sex workers.

2. Urvashi Patole, Bangalore
Creator of Bikerni, India’s only all-women biking association & social media executive

3. Anu Vaidyanathan, Bangalore
India’s only woman triathlete (extreme sport combining athletics, biking and swimming) who also runs Pat & Marks IPR Consulting

4. Sucheta Kadethankar, Pune
The only Indian woman to trek across Gobi desert (1680 km). Also a Symantech employee

5. Chandersuta Dogra
Avid car rallyist and Outlook magazine editor

6. Yogita Rajgandhi, Mumbai
Consulting Opthalmologist, Teacher, National co-ordinator for 120 colleges

7. Deepali Joshi
Dentist who has cycled all the way to the highest motorable road in the world

8. Yogita Salvi
Office Administrator, Ruia college who conducts nationalism drives among students

9. Farah Ghadiali
Musician and Events marketing manager at NCPA

The special mentions are:

Archana Achyutan, Chennai
Cerebral palsy survivor and founder of Sampurn Counselling Center

Rakhee Mehra, Delhi
Founder, Frontfoot Sports Management

The contest is being judged based on an open vote and a special jury including Deepa Malik, a paraplegic rally driver who holds multiple Limca Book records. She represents India in the London Paralympics 2012. The jury also includes Mrs Roopa Kocchar and Mrs Anamika Rashtrawar, both successful Bajaj Allianz employees.

The event

On Saturday, 28 April 2012, the award will be announced. During the event, all the nominees will be part of a panel discussion, which will be broadcast live. In addition, the panel will also take questions from Twitter that are hashtagged #jiyobefikarwomen. The best tweets will receive special prizes.

I’m going to be covering the event on Twitter so watch my tweets and also the hashtag stream #jiyobefikarwomen. You can also send in your questions & comments on this and I’ll be sure to pass them on.

Connect

Jiyo Befikar is on:

Facebook: Jiyo Befikar, Jiyo Befikar Women
Twitter: @BajajAllianz
Youtube: jiyobefikar
Blog: Jiyo Befikar Women
Gmail: jiyobefikar@gmail.com


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