In an era where empowerment of women is almost a buzzword, it is quite unfortunate that a high percentage of women are forced to opt of the workforce even today, owing to circumstances beyond their control. Yet when the same women are provided with a support system, nurturing environment or other enabling factors, they rise beyond the hurdles to fly high.
When I started writing this piece related to women who refused to bow down to difficult situations and give up on their dreams, little did I know what an eye opener these interactions would turn out to be.
Priyanka Bhandari Basak
An Advocate by profession, Priyanka met her husband while working for the same company. After she became pregnant, her husband had a lucrative job offer from a Kolkata firm. Priyanka quit her job and together they moved cities. After their son was born, the motherly duties kept her on her toes for a year. And then the restlessness grew.
I felt her craving to get back to being that independent woman. Not finding enough satisfactory job opportunities in the city, they decided to move back to Mumbai. It took her three months to find a job and work out the arrangements of the child-care facility for her kid. When I spoke to her, she said in her usual chirpy way, “My family begins and ends with my husband. With love and respect being the core values in our marriage, he has never shied away from being my biggest support system throughout this journey.”
An Architect & Urban Planner by profession, Shruti shifted from Kolkata to Bangalore before taking a career break post marriage. After six months she re-joined work only to quit soon after with her husband moving to Singapore. Within a year she returned back to the country with a marriage that was in troubled waters and a career that needed a major boost. The marriage didn’t work out but she restarted her career as an Urban Planner in a new job.
A couple of years back Shruti remarried and is now the mother of a year old toddler. As she says, “Financial independence is the biggest need based motivating factor for me. I decided not to have a baby until I could take care of it in my individual capacity.” I have always known her as a woman who spoke her mind. Today Shruti has a nanny to take care of her toddler while she’s at work. Her husband usually comes over the weekends since he works in a different location. Whenever she is scheduled to travel for work, he ensures to be available for the baby.
Shobana (name changed)
Fresh from a MBA college, Shobana landed a job with a Finance company where she met her soul mate. After their daughter was born, her deteriorating health compelled her to take an extended break. Despite being a doting mother, it was difficult for her to adjust to this life of being a stay-at-home mum. She was struggling with post partum depression.
She reminisces, “My husband knew how important it was for me to work again. He took up additional responsibilities at home so that I could pursue my dreams.” With a firm backing from her husband and support from her parents and in-laws, she returned to the same company. While her mother took care of the baby initially, she and her husband worked out the day care arrangements for their daughter. I was taken aback when this decade old soft-spoken and delicate friend of mine said “When my husband moved to Singapore next, I decided to stay back with my daughter in Pune alone. I continued working until I had a suitable opportunity there.” Today they both work in Singapore while their daughter has started school.
These three women did not let difficult circumstances dampen their spirit. Instead, they found solutions that helped them soar at work.
This year, through Women in Corporate Awards (WICA), Women’s Web is recognizing high achieving women who have been Champions for Growth, Innovation or Diversity at work.
In Indian industry today, women hold only 17% of senior-level roles. This makes the presence of strong role models for women in Indian industry crucial. When we perceive that women are the norm, not an exception, we are empowered and reassured that SUCCESS is within our reach!
If you are a woman who has made big strides in her career, nominate yourself for the Women in Corporate Awards 2019 here. If you know a woman who fits the bill, encourage her to nominate herself – spread the word!